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PENPALS For Kids, Students, Fans Of World Cultures... The Biggest Kid reviews

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Students of the World is a site that I used when I was in high school. It's a lot like Interpals in the sense that it's for finding pen pals and epals, but it's mostly geared towards kids. At the time I thought it was pretty good, but that was mostly because I hadn't really used any other sites like it until years later.

Here's the pros: It's fairly simple to use, and there's enough people on there that you're bound to find at least a few people on there who you (or your kid) will find interesting. Plus because the site has a mailbox system, you're never actually required to give your contact information out to anyone.

Because the site's explicitly meant for kids, there's not a whole lot of adults on the site. Those who are are typically parents looking for a pen friend for their kid, or they're teachers looking for a class exchange, or they're people in university/college. So if you're a parent reading this, I don't think you have to be too worried about the people on there being creepy adults because, with only a couple of exceptions over the course of three or four years of using the site, I didn't encounter too many through here.

Here's the cons: The site seems to be perpetually stuck in the '90s when it comes to website design. Because of this, I'm not entirely convinced it's the best when it comes to web security either, so I guess there's a certain degree of buyer beware when it comes to the site.

Plus due to what I'd assume are server limitations, most messages you had in your Students of the World inbox would be deleted after a year. It was unfortunate if you'd been talking to someone on there for a while and suddenly lost all of your early messages.

Here's a neutral point: You didn't really get a whole lot of room to say stuff on your profile, so it's not like you can have a huge wall of text on your SotW profile like you can on an Interpals profile. This can cut both ways, depending on how you want to look at things--if you're someone who doesn't really like long profiles, it's fine, because it forces people to be succinct; but if you're someone who wants to make sure the other person has something in common with you before you talk to them, then you're screwed because it's hard to summarise all your interests into two or three lines unless you're the world's most boring person.

While the site is good for what it is and it does carve out a niche that I don't think would be catered to otherwise, I think it suffers from its very dated looking, '90s-style layout and apparent lack of budget to produce any real updates for the site. But I think this could be a matter of you getting what you pay for, because it's free to use like Interpals but also lacks any adverts like Interpals does.

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