Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Disney hijacks social networking for kids

globeandmail.com: Disney unveils social networking for kids

Well with MySpace owned by News Corp. and a myriad of other social networking sites being groped by investors it isn't suprising that Disney would want to step in and protect my children. Hmmm. A safe, social nirvanna where preteens create personal mini websites like , with parental controls. A chat feature requiring parental approval for kids to go beyond trading canned messages ("hey Mickey, where's Goofy", Ariel, have you lost your voice?") and preventing users from revealing personal information, or from using profanity ("Holy !#%^ Batman).

And hey, "Kids can gather games, videos and music files from Disney's promotions-rich website and place them on a page that they decorate with a selection of motifs from the company's character library. “There is a weaving together of entertainment and promotion and marketing,” he added. “It's difficult to say where one ends and the other begins.”

Yeh, right. It's also difficult to see where blatant advertising and propoganda stops and a desire to protect my child begins. Why not protect my child from brazen advertising, gluttonous consumerism and sickly cuteness? Good idea - bad execution; wouldn't it be nice if one of these media conglomerates wanted to really contribute to social networking by doing something without expecting more in return? Disney did this for themselves - the kids are just tools for their marketing. No thanks.

I'll keep an eye on my own kids, set my own restrictions and take responsibility for ensuring they have a healthy, beneficial upbringing.

3 comments:

Christy Tucker said...

If you want a place that is safe for kids without all the advertisement, Club Penguin looks pretty good. (I haven't actually gone in myself, as I don't have kids, but Will Richardson recommended it.)

No affiliation; I just like to promote it specifically because it is safe without all the crass commercialization. :)

michael hotrum said...

Thanks for that suggestion Christy.

idarknight said...

I don't think it's a hijack... it's just another way for another company to hop onto a bandwagon that is splipping by.

I know that you will protect your children, as will I, but there are so many people out there that don't, won't or can't. There are also many teachers out there that are of the same mind and would likely allow this site in as opposed to others - if only because it's Disney. Which is at odds to all those that would stay away because it's Disney (or any other large company... if this is the case, what about Okurt?).

Club Penguin and the like are also great alternatives, but unless these resources are hand delivered to teachers, they are not going to get any traction.