Web Services for Pre-Teen
September 8, 2004 5:36 PM   Subscribe

ParentingFilter? My (almost) 13 year-old wants to put together a web site, with polls, for a class project. I want her use either Comcast, where we get our web, or Blogger, which I use, for the basic site. She wants to be free of my control. Who can recommend other free hosting sites that I can trust? I'm open to ideas about sites that post web-polls as well.
posted by mmahaffie to Computers & Internet (19 answers total)
Can you elaborate on what you mean by a "hosting site that [you] can trust"? Do you mean something that won't take her money and rip her off, or something else?
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:52 PM on September 8, 2004

I am a parent (9 year old girl).

She's 12, you want to supervise. Seems open and shut to me. Especially if it is for a class project, there should be no problem with you having full access to any site she creates.

If she wants privacy and freedom of expression, she can keep a diary.

I am honestly surprised you're even considering this.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:03 PM on September 8, 2004

LiveJournal is free and no longer requires invite codes. (Last I checked; if that's wrong, email in my profile, and I can provide one.) LJ has a polls feature, but you have to pay ($25/yr) to have access to it.
posted by caitlinb at 6:06 PM on September 8, 2004

Tell her she'll be free of your control when she moves out.


I have a 12-year-old daughter, and I keep an eye on all of her activities. Part of being a dad...
posted by jpburns at 6:09 PM on September 8, 2004

I'd tell her she can be free of your control in five to seven years; until then, she uses the Internet in the way you decree, or she doesn't use it at all. You're the grown-up, period.
posted by headspace at 6:44 PM on September 8, 2004

if you're worried about safety/security, i know of neopets because of a twelve year old who was eleven at the time who i let use my computer. it gives you and your pets their own selection of pages that link up to the sites and have templates as well as doing what she likes and she needs your permission to have email and "neofriends" under a certain age. it's free and i think pretty popular (i dunno) but lots of mom's have pages, shops and sites with their kids and there are tons of games you win neopoints with.
i'm rather impressed with the housing.
posted by ethylene at 7:04 PM on September 8, 2004

eep, bad link. here, voddietonic wants to be her neofriend
posted by ethylene at 7:08 PM on September 8, 2004

If it's for a class project there's no reason she should need to hide it from you or any other adult.
posted by padraigin at 7:09 PM on September 8, 2004


Maybe I was not clear. It's not so much a question of hiding the site, as it is of being free of any hint that something as lame-o as ...well... her Dad is involved. Don't get me wrong, the child does come to me for web advice and assistance and the like, but having a similar URL to the sites I create is an idea she finds embarrassing.

I am looking for sites -- especially for a poll -- that are not a potential ID theft or spam generator. There appear to be a number of Bloger-like sites that we could use, but I will check things out first.

LiveJournal looks a little hinky to me; too many neo-pornistas in there for my taste. We've done neopets, it was a great entre for my daughter a year or so back. We also have done well with HorseLand.

Thanks for the input. Please keep it coming!
posted by mmahaffie at 7:28 PM on September 8, 2004

mmahaffie: have you ever thought of using a mask on a domain name? that way, she'll get the name she wants but it'll be hosted on your site and no one will really know the difference.
posted by Stynxno at 7:34 PM on September 8, 2004

mmahaffie, if you are going to be supervising it, Geocities would work too.
posted by riffola at 7:37 PM on September 8, 2004

Anyone have any experience with Tripod?
posted by mmahaffie at 7:41 PM on September 8, 2004

mmahaffie, this offer still stands for f2o.org if you're interested. We have a number of teenage and pre-teen members that already us the services provided and really like the experience of having their own place on the web. Drop me a line if you have any questions or want more info!
posted by djc at 8:14 PM on September 8, 2004

As a parent of a teen...she needs to GET OVER IT.

Keep her off Livejournal unless you want her to have a site her friends can see and not you...they can and do configure it that way.

As to similar URLs,dad, that is what is known in the trade as an Excuse.
posted by konolia at 8:31 PM on September 8, 2004

I'm not a parent, but I don't think this is a question about whether or not mmahaffie will or won't be involved in the supervision of the online project. It's clear that the involvement and monitoring of the content and interaction of the site is already a given. The question is more about the tools to make both the parent involved and the student more independent vis-a-vis the project. Think back to science fairs - you could always tell which kid had their parent do the whole thing. Here, the student doesn't want her Dad's web addresses associated with her school project. Dad agrees this is a valid point, and is trying to find out the technological solutions to this question. The forwarding option seems like the easiest solution - the student can have a unique name for the project, and the Dad is still not branded upfront.
posted by fionab at 9:08 PM on September 8, 2004

but if people actually answered the question, then where would all the great comments that were made above go? laughter doesn't grow on trees!
posted by Stynxno at 9:20 PM on September 8, 2004

Blogger and geocities are both good, I prefer blogger but that's more geared towards maintaining a weblog type page with entries reverse chronologically ordered. If the page is a static 'project' type thing I might go with geocities since it has a easy 'PageBuilder' point and click thing for putting together pages. Might as well give them both a try.

As for polls, neither blogger or geocites support them natively (you need to be able to do cgi or php or something like that and that's not common on free hosts) but you could put up a poll that links to pollhost.com (free registration). So the poll options would appear on the geocities/blogger page but to see the results you'd go to pollhost page.

As for keeping your kid off livejournal... ha ha. You can't watch her 24 hours a day, all she has to do is go down to her school or some library and register herself, and you'd never know. Your best bet is to lull her into a false sense of security, tell her you respect her privacy and you're not interested in reading her webpage, then read her page covertly. She believes she has freedom, you get to monitor her, everyone is happy.
posted by bobo123 at 10:07 PM on September 8, 2004

i think live journal is probably what would work most for what you say she wants to do. sounds like she has friends on live journal or something similiar. since they tend to be groups of friends, if her friends are on it as well sharing sites and comments, she probably won't stray far from them anyway. you can build in a linked community with her/your online acquaintences.
that's why i suggested neopets, which is a lot of free safe space with older people taking advantage of the stuff.
i sended up succumbing to it when i was laid up ill, and actually use it a lot waiting for responses or loads while online. older people who are not predators are all over it and everything is monitored, plus they have lots of groups interested in a variety of things (pages, lord of the rings, whatever you can think of) and the html tutorials and such are simple with access to more.
i've been thinking or organizing a "guild" for a holiday thing for friend's kids (of a wide age range) and sibilings (one who is developementally challenged) more to acquaint some to the web or give them an outlet to develop. (if she hasn't deleted her account or doesn't want it, we can give it to someone who will take good care of it)
i think it's good for kids/people to see a range of opinions on things from different backgrounds,etc. this way. the world get bigger and smaller, usually focusing most of their web time on different topics rather than random surfing into nin's house of pain.
posted by ethylene at 2:30 PM on September 9, 2004


Thanks greatly for the input. We have settled on Blogger, with several poll sites still in the running. Your comments helped. Thanks!
posted by mmahaffie at 7:27 PM on September 9, 2004

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