Wednesday, May 12, 2010

yoursphere.com

zoe has been asking me for quite awhile now if she can start her own blog.  she has shown herself to be someone who processes things by writing about them so i thought it would be a good idea.  i was just a little nervous, however, about letting her put herself completely out there for anyone to find and read.

that was about the time that i got asked to be a testdrive mom for yoursphere.com.  this is a kid-friendly site that claims to offer "social media on training wheels."  kids have an opportunity to be themselves without extra pressure or being exposed to whatever is out there with facebook and myspace. 

yoursphere.com offers kids an opportunity to create their own profile, start a blog, share pictures or meet up with friends.  they can play age-appropriate interactive games or join groups to discuss favorite topics and interests with other people their age. 

mary kay hoal founded yoursphere.com to give her own kids a place online to combine privacy, protection and amusement.  this sounded exactly like what i wanted for zoe, so we've decided to give it a try.

i went through the process to set up an account, both for myself, as a parent, and for zoe.  i signed zoe up without her knowing about it at first because i wanted to know what we were getting ourselves into.  the home page has a youtube video that is a little more romantically minded than i want zoe to be.  the video seemed more appropriate for teenagers than for pre-teens or 'tweens.  i'm hoping not to get into that too much with zoe.

i had a little bit of a hard time setting up my account.  i got everything entered okay, but when i tried to get to zoe's account, i kept getting to the parent dashboard.  since zoe hadn't done anything to her account yet, i couldn't access anything other than the parent dashboard home page.

later, with zoe, i was able to help her log on and she worked on a blog entry.  it took her a long time to write a short amount because she types so slowly.  recently i went back to check on it and it seems to have vanished into the blogosphere.  i can't find it anywhere.  she is going to be very disappointed when she finds out.  i'll have to work with her to make sure we save it next time...

tonight i spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get a picture uploaded for her.  i came up with an avatar but i didn't like it very much.  i did another one i liked better but now i can't get the picture changed on her profile.  this has been a little frustrating. (update: i just logged on again and her picture is the newer one.)

apart from all these minor bugs, i am excited for zoe to have a safe place to blog and to meet some other friends.  i'm hoping some of her friends from school will be interested in joining so she can have some friends to connect with online, and even meet up with in the "spheres."

i will be working on various aspects of yoursphere in the next few months so i will definitely keep you updated about what i learn about the site.  until then, if you would like to check it out for yourself you can use the referral code YSMC-007 if you want to help me out.  i like to know i'm having an impact! 

it is absolutely free to join and safety for your children is of utmost importance so you will have to be involved in your child's registration.  the recommended age for the testdrive was 8-13 but i accidentally registered tessa (age 5) so i guess her account will be ready for her when she's older. 

let us know if your child joins so zoe can have a few more friends to connect with!

"i wrote this review while participating in the yoursphere test drive program by mom central on behalf of yoursphere.  i received a free lifetime Gold membership on yoursphere.com, yoursphere t-shirts, and a $50 american express gift card to facilitate my review."

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