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So what social networks do (UK) kids use?
February 6, 2011 1:10 PM   Subscribe

I work in health communications and have spend a couple of years now engaging with adult patients and the public using Facebook and Twitter. Now I need to understand how to communicate with a much younger age group using social networks - but have no idea where to start...

I work in health communications and have spend a couple of years now engaging with patients and the public using Facebook and Twitter.

I'm now working on a health program aimed at 10-13 year olds. My boss has asked me to put together a list of public, charity and commercial organisations that use social media to engage with this age group. Problem is, I've never worked with this age group before, and don't have kids, so have no idea where to look!

So, I have two questions for the hive mind:

- What social media networks do kids in that age group use? I am in the UK, so really interested in what happens here, but US information is also useful. I know of Bebo and that's it!
- Who do you think uses social media networks well to communicate to 10-13 year olds?
posted by ozgirlabroad to Technology (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
This Pingdom blog post has some relevant information.
posted by msbutah at 1:48 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


This would be a great question for danah boyd. Her paper, "Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life" (.pdf), while U.S.-centric and about kids a little older than you're targeting, might help you get a quick overview of the subject.
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:11 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most social networks prohibit children under age 13 from registering accounts so I think you're going to be hard-pressed to use that medium to communicate with them without encouraging them to lie.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:28 PM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act should be required reading for you.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 3:43 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks msbutah and MonkeyToes - really helpful. Jacqueline - I agree, but there are networks aimed at that age group that they legally can use, aren't there? This is what I am trying to find out. peanut_mcgillicuty - COPPA - yes, totally agree.

To be really clear, I completely understand the ethics of using social networking in this area. This is why I've steered well clear of using social networking for this age group in the past. I am not looking at selling a product that kids (or their parents) would have to buy, or collecting their contact details, or anything like that. It's more that I want to raise awareness that our programme exists. For example, I've worked on sexual health programs for older teenagers and I'd never have dreamed of asking them for into, more signposting to them how they can get advice.
posted by ozgirlabroad at 10:23 PM on February 6, 2011


Here's a Canadian example of a health-related website that has created a social space for kids - Kids Help Phone.
posted by purlgurly at 8:15 AM on February 7, 2011


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