I received an interesting email from Peter Blackbyrne from ImaginationGYM. His company is partnering with an American organisation Safewave.org to “bring safer internet activities to school children in Ireland.” Essentially, he’s looking for volunteers to pilot a social networking site for children. It’s already pretty big in the US and its ethos is to allow all children access to the web while keeping them safe while they are on it.
According to Blackbyrne, “It creates a balance between children learning essential IT skills (web2.0) while allaying the fears of parents that their children are not safe on the net.”
The site is called Ilands5 and the following is the blurb from their team. It seems to be a very impressive idea and I’m looking forward to piloting it in my school. I believe they are looking for other Irish schools to join the network and one should contact Peter Blackbyrne if interested at the contact address below the blurb
Ilands5 a social networking site for 5 to 18 year olds. It is split into 5 age categories across this range which makes it very unique as a social networking site. It means that children can network with children of similar age across different schools. It also means that no adults can get on to the site because all children have to be pre registered by their teacher in order to join it. This is just to protect the kids. Once they are on the site their information is only available to those with whom they want to be friends. So they still have full privacy from parents and teachers like any other site, unless they want to show them physically what they are doing. This is a site exclusively for kids and it is kept safe by the best screening practices out there.
The site has other great uniques for kids such as games, education contact and even help with home work. It comes bundled with a browser for younger kids that prevents them going to places on the net that might have parents worried. The safe browsing keeps them in a safe domain. Many parents ban children from social networking altogether but this is one site where they will not have to worry. It even monitors online bullying and can prevent messages ever reaching target children, with the child being oblivious.
We would like to help the Ilands5 community in the US to find some friends in Ireland. As all new members are filtered through schools we are looking for volunteer teachers to set up a pilot in their school. There are no costs involved and time is limited to a simple procedure verify that your students are who they say they are, before they can register on the site. It is teachers that help keep the network safe. It is a great idea because it introduces children to web2.0 without any of the risks. If your school doesn’t have great computing resources children can access the network from home, allowing them to gain some IT knowledge on their own.
If you are interested in piloting this programme, contact Peter Blackbyrne from ImaginationGYM at the following address:
Bright Child Productions Limited
18 Exchange Street Upper
Tel: 00 353 1 6753522
Mbl: 00 353 872587852