The BBC is attracting some flack for its plans to start a CBBC social networking Internet site aimed at 6-12 years old. Most existing social network sites have a theoretical lower age limit of 13 though Disney has been running an advert-free safe Internet site called Club Penguin which itself is aimed at 6-14 year olds.
The BBC says that the MyCBBC site will commence in April and will have cost £200,000 to develop. users will only be able to send messages via predetermined symbols and phrases. Email addresses will not be shared on the site and heavy moderation will prevent youngsters from any unscripted contact with strangers. The predetermined element is designed to stop kids from inadvertently revealing personal information about themselves.
MyCBBC will essentially be a discussion area for various CBBC TV programmes and will be piloted amongst 1,000 children next month.