The Pea is a social butterfly-in-training, a social catterpillar, if you will. She'd go on a playdate every afternoon, and a sleepover every weekend, if I let her. Her interest in hanging out is starting to drift online -- she recently asked me whether she could have a Facebook account. Control freak that I am, I don't think I'm ready for that just yet. There are all kinds of spammers, fishers, marketers and crazies out there, and she's only 8!
Enter gaming and entertainment leader, Senario, to the rescue. Today they are launching My Secret Circle, the first-ever secure online social network for girls ages 8-12. Just like regular social networks like Facebook or MySpace, girls can log on, chat, share pictures, post notes, and play games. But get this -- it's completely private and safe from advertising and strangers.
Because My Secret Circle is NOT a public Web site. To enter the network, you have to purchase an access key with a unique code, and your daughter and her friends can connect only by exchanging private codes. But this access key is not just a virtual code, it's also a physical device, like a flash drive, that plugs into your computer's USB drive. So it's invisible to the online world in general. The key stores the virtual code and all the girl's personal information, which further enhances the security of the network.
As a parent, I love the concept, because it allows me to "let go" a bit without really letting go. I can let her network online with some peace of mind, because there's no way some person surfing the web at Starbucks could hack into the network; he or she would have to purchase their own physical access key AND know your daughter's virtual code. And to get that virtual code, your daughter would have to give it to them herself.
We were sent a My Secret Circle access key for The Pea to play with, and let me tell you, the product is really designed to appeal to girls. First of all, the packaging is very Girly with a capital G, with lots of Pink and photos of clique-y looking tweens. The access key is attached to a silver chain with some cute charms, and clips onto a purse or backpack (as modeled by The Pea above). You can also purchase a separate headset and microphone, which lets your daughter safely voice-chat with her friends on the My Secret Circle network. And because, like a telephone, the fun truly begins when you have lots of friends to connect to, My Secret Circle also comes in a BFF pack containing two online access keys, one for you and one for a friend. It's a whole lot of safe, girly fun -- and it's all available for purchase at that girliest of girly stores, Justice.
Stay tuned for my future post on all the cool features My Secret Circle offers and how The Pea is using them..... but for now, we're giving you a chance for your own budding online networker to try it out for herself! Just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a My Secret Circle Online Access Key. For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following:
1) Leave a comment on any of my blog posts on Finding Bonggamom (leave a comment here with the link to the post that you commented on).
2) Join any of the other giveaways currently running on Bonggamom Finds (leave a comment here with the name of the other giveaway you joined).
3) Tweet this giveaway (leave a comment with a link to your tweet). Here is a sample tweet you can copy and paste:
My Secret Circle giveaway from @bonggafinds http://www.bonggafinds.com/
This giveaway ends at midnight PST on July 20, 2009.; I will draw a winner at random on July 21 and post the winner's name on the comments section soon after. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!