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Christian"paths2paths" T.

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Experience: Computers & Technology, Reference, Entertainment

Member since January 2010

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6 Reviews by Christian


Gaia. Gaia. Gaia.

Parents need to know that while this site may attract young teens with its lively graphics, games, and opportunities to socialize with other kids, if you don't turn the filter on, adult language and topics are common. There's no doubt that your teen will stumble upon threads discussing "masturbation myths and fads" and "WTF moments" in a matter of minutes. The site also pushes kids to buy buy buy with their Gaia Gold virtual currency. The positive side of that is it teaches kids about money -- and to save up for something they like.

Log on to GAIAONLINE.COM and play games (slots and jigsaw, among them), chat with other 13- to 18-year-old users, collect downloadable wallpaper for cell phones, and buy virtual items in virtual stores with Gaia Gold currency, which is earned with every session spent on the site. As with most virtual worlds, the first stop after your free sign-up is creating your avatar. Via the anime-style character -- whose hairstyles and clothing you can customize -- kids can chat in different rooms.

Though the site appears to be kid-friendly and moderators are supposed to be trolling the boards for inappropriate images, racist and sexist language, and adult content, if you don't use the word filter it's rampant with such fare. For example, on a recent visit, the following threads appeared: "Your best WTF moment was?" "What are your fave pick-up lines?" "Masturbation Myths and Fads" and "Poll: I wanna have sex with a boy." Perhaps the moderators were asleep at the wheel or their safety claim is just that -- a claim. Either way, it'd be good to sit down with the kids as they surf the site or just steer them away. There are plenty of others with cleaner content and just as robust audiences.

I recommend this website for Ages 1518.
--> www.gaiaonline.com <--


Youtube. Youtube. Youtube.

Parents need to know that YouTube now offers parents the ability to filter out objectionable content using its new Safety Mode. Safety Mode is an opt-in feature -- meaning you need to enable it on your browser -- that filters both videos and comments. If you have a YouTube account, you can log in to password protect Safety Mode so it always filters content. Otherwise, you'll need to enable Safety Mode every time you log in if you want to screen content. YouTube is also now displaying the TV ratings for the TV show clips it offers, so parents have a sense of the age-appropriateness of the video. Part of the fun of the YouTube has always been that you can see anything at any time, but that also makes it hard to know what your kids are viewing unless you're supervising. The new Safety Mode feature and ratings give parents more control over the content kids see -- even though as YouTube acknowledges, no filter is 100% accurate. YouTube remains one of the most creative outlets on the Web, offering kids myriad ways to exercise their creativity. You can learn more about Safety Mode, and view the instructional video, on the company's blog.

YOUTUBE.COM is a site where users upload and share original videos. Users can "tag" their videos with subject headings, such as "dogs," "comedy," or "topless." This lets others find videos featuring subjects that interest them. It's a popular place to go to see the latest silly Internet video that everyone's talking about. The great majority of videos are of concert footage, sporting events, bootlegged commercial video, and homemade movies. Want to see video of Michael Jackson picking up his "Legends" award in Tokyo? It's here. Like to see the winner of last week's Masters horse show in Germany? No problem. Of course, you can also see hentai (Japanese pornographic animation, often with big-eyed waifs in bondage). Users create "playlists" of favorite videos and can join communities of users who like to watch the same types of things. If you decide to submit a video yourself, you can choose whether you want to allow people to comment on it or not. If you decide to allow comments, you can moderate them first before making them live on the site.

Content runs the gamut from the totally benign to the totally outrageous to the potentially harmful. The user-rating system is fairly trustworthy, though -- if lots of people pan something, it's probably not worth watching and if users give something a high rating, it's probably pretty good. The user ratings have nothing to do with age-appropriateness, though.
Although you can't automatically get to the adult videos without logging in, anyone can lie about their age and get an "adult" account. Most of the videos aren't pornographic, but some of the comments about the videos can be vulgar. Submitters are cautioned to refrain from showing personally identifiable information in their movies, or images that would help a stranger identify their locations. "Broadcasters" are able to release videos to the world, or just to a circle of friends and family. Additionally, users can easily remove their videos from the site anytime. As with any site that offers user-generated content, it's viewer beware.


Twitter. Twitter. Twitter.

Teens are tweeting about TWITTER.COM, a microblogging and social networking site that allows users to send and receive "tweets" -- short updates of 140 characters or less -- to and from the Twitter site and cell phones, as well as other Web applications like IM and Facebook. Find Twitter friends you want to keep up with? "Follow" those folks to receive all their updates. Users can choose to keep profiles private, which means followers must be approved before they can read tweets. Twitter is huge as a social tool, but it's also been used by media outlets, politicians, and even the Phoenix spacecraft on Mars to send out info.

Twitter can be great for keeping in touch with friends, or keeping up with what's going on in the world -- especially trends in technology. Twitter attracts a lot of Web-savvy users, many of whom are developing services that enhance Twitter -- like a search engine and a round-up of the most talked-about topics. Twitter's definitely not for kids, though -- especially if it continues to be hands-off in enforcing its Terms of Service.

I would personally recommend this book for people ages 15–18.


Facebook. Facebook. Facebook.

Facebook started as a very exclusive club limited to college kids; now, the social site is open to all (though users must be at least 13 years old to join). Once a member, you can choose to join one or more "networks" -- a constellation of people at your school, your job, or in your region. When you join a network, others in that network can read your profile if you want them to. You can join "groups" that form around a common interest, like a band or a hobby. Users create profiles of themselves: interests, schools attended, political views, and more. You can choose to let only your friends (or certain friends) see your profile, allow only people in your networks to view it, or opt to have no limits at all. Users post photos to their online albums, send messages to one another, scribble notes on each other's "walls," and send "gifts" (icons that cost $1 after the first free one). There's also "The Marketplace," which allows members to post and search classifieds. An IM function is coming soon.

Facebook is a great place for keeping in touch with friends and making new ones. The interface is bright and inviting and makes it a snap to share thoughts, photos, links, videos and more in a constantly updated news feed. As with any open social networking site, kids can easily lie about their ages to join Facebook -- and then post dodgy stuff that could haunt them later. The good news is Facebook's new safeguard for minors, which at least blocks kids' posts from showing up on the Internet. On the downside, Facebook now makes more of a user's profile info publicly available. It's up to users to painstakingly tweak settings to hide this info.


It's new, I'll give ya that. It does have the potential to wind out being a big company, but the firm has a while to go. They did do a good job on editing the website, and making it look professional, but when you try to sign up, it takes you straight to an error page. Try working this out?


Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.

Parents need to know that Google's free social networking site and messaging tool makes adding friends as easy as emailing them -- or just accepting the recommended contacts from the service itself. Google's attempt to compete with the increasingly popular Facebook offers many of the same features and network-expanding focus of Facebook. However, there is concern -- just as there is with Facebook -- over a lack of privacy controls, primarily because it automatically integrates its web-based email program, Gmail, with Buzz, meaning anyone with a gmail account becomes part of the social network. Parents, make sure your teen selects "private" settings and opts out of showing the list of people they're following and those who are following them.

Google's social networking site has many of the same features as Facebook -- as well as similar privacy concerns. It's easy to use, but lacks some of the polish other social sites have. Users can post information, connect, and share photos, videos, and links privately or publicly. Users need only an email address from Gmail (Google's web-based email system) along with a public Google profile that -- at minimum -- includes a first and last name. Profiles can be expanded to include photos and additional information. Friends are added anytime you email them via Gmail, and content from friends of friends may be automatically added to a stream even if they're not acquainted.

This is why I rate this website 14 - 15.

- www.google.com/buzz -

Christian Has Earned 34 Votes

Christian T.'s review of Twitter earned 5 Very Helpful votes

Christian T.'s review of YouTube earned 10 Very Helpful votes

Christian T.'s review of Facebook earned 10 Very Helpful votes

Christian T.'s review of Google earned 3 Very Helpful votes

Christian T.'s review of Ezhost123.co.cc earned 2 Very Helpful votes

Christian T.'s review of Gaia Online earned 2 Well Said votes

Christian T.'s review of Gaia Online earned 2 Very Helpful votes

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