If you remember POGS, you remember how crazy kids were over them. They had to have them at all costs. They had to trade them with their friends. If a kid didn’t have POGS, they weren’t cool!
While POGS have now gone by the wayside, there is something new – and VERY cool – on the horizon. FaceChipz is a new social network for kids. Kids can buy and share their FaceChipz, much like they did with POGS. However, the website offers social interaction for kids… in a completely SAFE environment.
Intended primarily for the “tween” set who’s outgrown children’s websites but aren’t old enough for Facebook yet, FaceChipz mixes real-life networking with online networking. After buying a starter set of five chips, the parent registers an account for them on the FaceChipz website. Then the game begins!
All of the chips are registered on the site using the identification codes found on the back. When all of them have been registered, they can then be traded with friends. Likewise, the friends will give their chips to your child. Your child then goes back to the website and enters the new codes. This will automatically link the two real-life friends on the social site. This then turns into a large social network of friends who actually know each other in the physical world.
The FaceChipz network offers a more secure and private environment for kids than a site such as MySpace does. No strangers can solicit friendship requests here – the child’s only online friends are those they’ve connected with in real life. There also is no search function on the site. Strangers cannot “accidentally” find your child and add them as a friend. The ONLY way that a child will get friends on the site is by knowing them in the real world.
This is such a fantastic idea. By interacting on the site, children will begin to learn how to act and communicate in a social networking type of environment. Since you – the parent – have control over their account, you can monitor their activity. However, you can also use this as a tool to teach your child the correct ways of behaving on a site such as this, so that you are confident they will know how to handle themselves when they are ready for Facebook or MySpace.
Another large bonus is that the chips are seriously cheap. The five pack is only $4.99 at ToysRUs. There is a one-time site registration fee of $1.00. This fee is not there to make money for the site. Instead, it’s there so that parents are forced to be the one to sign up their child (using a credit card), and will therefore know what their child is doing online.
While this is a fantastic idea, it remains to be seen how well it will take off. Are today’s kids going to be interested in something like this, as those in the 90s were with POGS? Or are they too busy sneaking onto sites such as YouTube to watch the latest viral video? Heck, they may have their noses buried in their favorite gaming console, causing them to snort with derision when Mom offers them the cute little chips.
Time will tell how this will turn out. What are your thoughts? If you’re a parent, let me know what you think about this site, and the premise behind it. If you’re a tween… is this something that you’ll do?