Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Ups of Social Networking

We have never allowed our kids to have a Myspace or Facebook page. We've always felt that these social networking sites weren't super safe and certainly not necessary. Then yesterday, I listened to a podcast on my new purple Ipod by a well-known parenting expert who gave us plenty to think about. He said that it is our job to train our children in every aspect of their life...and that these networking sites are a definite part of the teenaged world. It is their gathering place, much like the malls used to be for those a generation or so back. If we do not teach our teens how to use them to navigate this part of their world, who will? It was this expert's recommendation, that you allow your teen access to these sites around the same age that you would allow them to start dating, and that you sit down together and each of you create an account. Have your teen "invite" you to be their friend, and you will be able to see their site, and have a special and new glimpse into their world.

So then I got started thinking -how often do I wish for a networking site? Not one of the regular, just-to-meet-new-people ones -I have plenty of friends - but sometimes wouldn't it be nice just to be able to "talk" with someone who actually owns the product you're thinking of buying? Especially when it's something expensive or something that you'll have for awhile, and want to know if it's worth it. Or what about when DH's new cell phone touch screen cracked even when it was treated gently and carried in a custom case? It was hard to find out if this was a common occurence, and even harder to warn other people to think twice before buying this model. There is a new website out there that is attempting to do these things and more. Acobay is still in it's beta-stages, but there is already plenty of information there. Simply go to the website, type in what product you are interested in, and read what actual owners have to say about it. You can create an account and write up your own reviews on the gadgets you own, and if you are into social networking, Acobay will even connect you with people who own some of the same things that you do. This seems like a great way to get find out about many different gadgets, and to get your questions answered.

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