WALTHAM, Mass., Feb. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Kids' Internet Safety Expert Katie LeClerc Greer Asks: "Are the kids all right -- on social networks?" With the increasing popularity of online social networks where kids can play games, communicate with friends and create profiles, parents have many questions about what's appropriate and at what age. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) applies to any Website collecting information from kids under the age of 13, and many popular social networks were not intended for children. One COPPA-compliant, new kids' social network for 7-13-year-olds -- WhatsWhat.me (Beta) (www.whatswhat.me) – takes a unique approach to safety, security and cyberbullying with a combination of patent-pending facial recognition technologies, human moderation and kid-friendly features to create a "kids-only" community that teaches positive online behavior. And, for parents who want to "get smart" about cybersafety and their kids, the WhatsWhat.me Parent Resource Center (www.whatswhat.me/parents) provides expert advice, news and Internet safety tips for children. [To learn more about WhatsWhat.me (Beta) and the Parent Resource Center, obtain the downloadable press kit with FAQs and screenshots, and watch the video, etc., go to: http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/whatswhat/48109/ ]
It's becoming increasingly important for children to learn how to behave online, especially when one hears daily about cyberbullying incidents and the amount of time kids are online:
- 99% of children ages 8-17-years-old access the Internet spending 25% of their time on social networking -- The Family Online Safety Institute
- 58% of kids admit someone has said "mean or hurtful things" to them online with more than 4 out of 10 saying it has happened more than once -- i-Safe America
Director of Internet Safety and law enforcement expert at www.whatswhat.me, Katie LeClerc Greer says, "Parents and kids need to know the basic rules when it comes to social networking. As specifically stated in the terms of service on many popular social networks, kids under the age of 13 are not allowed; yet, when I meet with 'tweens across the U.S., many of them are on these sites, unbeknownst to their parents. Because social networking is so popular, it's imperative for both kids and parents to have a safe, secure, age-appropriate solution for kids, as social networks are here to stay."
WhatsWhat.me (Beta): Safe, Secure, "Kids-only"& No Cyberbullying Allowed
Ms. Greer emphasizes in her "Internet/Technology Safety for Kids" seminars with parents across the U.S., education is key for both parents and children regarding teaching positive online behavior. Finding a kids-only social network to help kids learn and practice in a safe, secure environment helps prepare kids for the digital world in which they live. Following are the unique, patent-pending technologies that make WhatsWhat.me (Beta) – a safe, secure and educational option:
- Biometric Facial Recognition Technology: Using a Webcam during registration to create a "MeKey" for each child, the "MeKey" checks and matches the child's unique facial features at every login to ensure his or her authentic identity. Photos are encrypted and stored on state-of-the-art, secure servers.
- Secure, Authentic ID: Encrypted and verified ID at every login.
- Report It! Button: Kids can report confidentially any improper online behavior; moderators review reports and take appropriate action with the kids, and if the violation is serious, the parents and/or law enforcement officials will be contacted.
- Human Moderators & "Teachable Moments": Professional moderators monitor the site and help kids turn online mistakes into teachable moments.
- Review, Approve, Post – "Think Before Posting": All postings must be reviewed and approved by the recipient before becoming visible to others – effectively mitigating cyberbullying and teaching kids to "think before posting."
- Anti-cyberbullying Policies & Community Rules: Created by law enforcement and cyberspace experts, WhatsWhat.me (Beta) community rules are posted and reinforced; violators will not be tolerated.
- Age-appropriate Networking: Kids are only allowed to network with other WhatsWhat.me (Beta) members one grade above or below their grade level, unless approved by a parent.
- Parental Approval Required & Secure Registration: Parents participate in the registration process, which requires a valid credit card to ensure parental approval and authentic identification.
- Membership for WhatsWhat.me (Beta): $3.95/month or $29.95/year.
- Parent Resource Center: WhatsWhat.me (Beta)'s site for parents to obtain important information about social networking and keeping their kids safe in cyberspace (www.whatswhat.me/parents).
Finally ... Parents Can "Just Say Yes":
Parent of "tweens," founder and CEO of WhatsWhat.me (Beta) Vincent Cannistraro says, "From personal experience, I know how great it is to say, 'Yes!' finally to kids about social networking. We invite parents to explore WhatsWhat.me (Beta), our Parent Resource Center, watch our video, engage in the important discussion about kids and Internet safety, and 'Ask the Expert' Katie LeClerc Greer any questions they may have."
In summing up the WhatsWhat.me mission, Mr. Cannistraro stated, "We believe that today's youth will benefit from being prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the digital world. The entire WhatsWhat.me (Beta) team is dedicated to teaching children how to make intelligent, safe and appropriate choices every time they go online. Our site fosters an age-appropriate, "no-bullying allowed" community while teaching positive online behavior and related life skills."
About Director of Internet Safety, Katie LeClerc Greer: Katie is a pioneer in children's cybersafety and travels the country educating students, parents, the media, communities, and law enforcement officials. She served as the Director of Internet Safety at the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, worked as an Intelligence Analyst with the Massachusetts State Police, holds a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice and is currently working toward a Master's in Digital Investigations.
About WhatsWhat.me (Beta): WhatsWhat.me (Beta) is a "kids-only" Website www.whatswhat.me that provides safe, secure social networking for kids ages 7 to 13 ("tweens") and utilizes patent-pending facial recognition technologies, moderation and kid-friendly features. WhatsWhat.me (Beta) is compliant with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and fosters an age-appropriate, "no-bullying allowed" community while teaching positive online behavior, Internet safety and related life skills. For parents, WhatsWhat.me (Beta) offers its Parent Resource Center www.whatswhat.me/parents providing expert advice, news and information on cybersafety for children. WhatsWhat.me (Beta) Customer Service: 1-888-520-3211. For more information, please go to: www.whatswhat.me Media Contact: Jeanie Ryan at Jeanie@whatswhat.me or 603-235-5266.
SOURCE WhatsWhat.me (Beta)