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A Fingerprint-Protected Social Network for Girls
December 6, 2007 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Some fancy security for 6 to 14-year-old girls Anne's Diary is a Canadian social network for 6 to 14-year-old girls (I read about it on the CBC's Spark blog). It has two interesting security features to fend off child molesters and the like. To sign up for the service, kids need to get a non-parental adult professional as a 'sponsor' who validates their identity and age (much like applying for a passport). Secondly, you get a USB fingerprint scanner with your initial package, and I gather the kids use this to log in to the service. And yes, that's Anne with an 'e'. No Prince Edward Island gable was ever this secure.

Actually, there's one other cool feature that I like: "each Christmas the child will be sent a physical copy of their Diary with all of their entries included in it."

I also wonder what their exit strategy is for girls who turn 15. Do they get summarily booted off the service? Is there another network (besides, you know, Facebook) that they graduate too?
posted by dbarefoot (31 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Huh. Crazy. Someone mentioned this to me the other day and my first though was that it seems pretty easy to get a fake sponsor to validate your application. With passports, it's The Government that comes after you if you lie. What's the impact of lying to get a 45-year-old creepy guy onto the site?

Also, thanks goodness for copyright expiration, eh? I'm not sure if LMM would have approved.
posted by GuyZero at 9:55 AM on December 6, 2007


Huh. That's crazy. I want my internet blog to be mailed to me in a physical diary form.

Will people actually use this? Seems like part of the fun of social networking is that people are really differnet... also - is there a "brother" site for 6 to 14-year old boys?
posted by lunit at 10:07 AM on December 6, 2007


Hm. From what I read, the finger scanner means that only the child user can access her space on the site. Which means her parents cannot.

In our house the rule is that, while the child owns the computer (it was a gift), the parents own the internet connection and the electricity. Therefore, her website usage is a joint effort, and we have the right to stay informed and aware for her protection.

I don't routinely log in to the social sites my kid uses; once we ascertain that we're comfortable with the site itself, and its rules and security, I don't perceive as much need to monitor the activity inside -- especially when weighed against the value of demonstrating that we value her privacy.

But I don't know how I feel about the idea that, if I wanted to check in, I couldn't.
posted by pineapple at 10:14 AM on December 6, 2007


There is a parent's login on the site. I assume the sponsoring adult wold have access to the kids blog when logging in there.
posted by COD at 10:23 AM on December 6, 2007


Won't this cause a demand for a black market on kiddie fingers? Someone call Dateline NBC!
posted by kuujjuarapik at 10:32 AM on December 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


I also wonder what their exit strategy is for girls who turn 15.

On Lastday, all fifteen year olds report to the Sleepshop.
posted by schoolgirl report at 10:49 AM on December 6, 2007 [8 favorites]


You know, I have a historical question.

Was it normal, and loudly activated, for parents to read their children's diaries?

I mean, I know that's why I never wrote one, but to answer the question of why we have no privacy, we have seemed to have cast a parent as irresponsible if they're not monitoring every word coming in and out of their kids. I'm amazed kids aren't sent to school with mandatory voice recorders.
posted by effugas at 10:57 AM on December 6, 2007


s/activated/advocated
posted by effugas at 10:57 AM on December 6, 2007


I assume the sponsoring adult wold have access to the kids blog when logging in there.

From the signup page:
"Using the username and password you select you can manage your child's subscription details. This does not, however, give you or any other adult access to the Diary."

Also, I'm not clear how they verify that the child is actually a child, or is a real person for that matter. They call a person you specify, but couldn't that be... you?
posted by smackfu at 11:04 AM on December 6, 2007


Was it normal, and loudly activated, for parents to read their children's diaries?

Certainly wasn't normal in my house. I kept journals starting when I was 10 or 11, and my mom never asked to look at them or anything. She kept a journal as well, and it was just understood in our house that no one read anybody else's journal without explicit permission.
posted by rtha at 11:18 AM on December 6, 2007


I don't routinely log in to the social sites my kid uses; once we ascertain that we're comfortable with the site itself, and its rules and security

This is something more parents should be doing, rather than being idiotic reactionaries or completely oblivious.

When I was younger, I wanted to start playing a rather nerdy little card game most of you have probably made fun ofheard of at one point or another. The game was under fire at the time for being a "subversive element", so to speak, but instead of my mother banning it outright, she decided to play it first with me and decide if it was appropriate for me. She learned the basics, played a bit, and came to the realization that it was just a nerdy card game and wasn't this awful influence some were touting it (and its ilk) as.

Thanks, Mom.
posted by Mikey-San at 11:18 AM on December 6, 2007


Won't this cause a demand for a black market on kiddie fingers? Someone call Dateline NBC!

More like Gummi Bears and Play-Doh.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:29 AM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I checked my son's profile on the board where he hangs out to talk about a particular video game. I just wanted to make sure he wasn't revealing too much in his profile. I have not bothered to create an account to read what they are talking about. These are teenage boys, I'm pretty sure I know what they are talking about.
posted by COD at 11:29 AM on December 6, 2007


Girls between 6 to 14 have more to fear from other girls aged 6 to 14 than they do random molesters on the internet. Just saying.
posted by jokeefe at 11:32 AM on December 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Actually, there's one other cool feature that I like: "each Christmas the child will be sent a physical copy of their Diary with all of their entries included in it."

I think that's terrible, their parents could easily read it. I presume, that using the finger print scanner they could avoid having their parents ever see it. And, of course, why would they want their parents to read it?

If I ever have kids I'm going to teach them how to use PGP.
posted by delmoi at 11:37 AM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


lunit: Huh. That's crazy. I want my internet blog to be mailed to me in a physical diary form.

Blurb will do that for you. We put our wedding photos in a Blurb book and it turned out great.
posted by hupp at 11:37 AM on December 6, 2007


Was it normal, and loudly activated, for parents to read their children's diaries?

no, probably not. but when we all great up, diaries were not posted online for all the world to see. they were locked up and hidden under the mattress.
posted by eatdonuts at 11:50 AM on December 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


This is an excellent non-solution to a problem that doesn't really exist.
posted by srboisvert at 12:26 PM on December 6, 2007


And people actually bother to jump through these hoops?

And then keep using it once they have?
posted by lodurr at 12:39 PM on December 6, 2007


Didn't Mythbusters manage to thwart a supposedly state-of-the-art fingerprint scanner with a photocopy of the fingerprint?
posted by justkevin at 12:49 PM on December 6, 2007


Girls between 6 to 14 have more to fear from other girls aged 6 to 14 than they do random molesters on the internet. Just saying.


Agreed. And these other girls can read your diary? Frightening.
posted by Danila at 12:54 PM on December 6, 2007


If I ever have kids I'm going to teach them how to use PGP.

That just reminded me of the strangest weblog I ever saw. It was on some sort of anonymous blogging platform called Invisiblog that had just launched, and one of the early users was apparently a paedophile who had posted tons of entries describing (in a very chaste manner, thankfully) pre-teen girls he'd seen, each one ending, with 'if you should see this my dear, here is my PGP key, should you wish to get in touch.'

I'm pretty interweb-jaded, but there was something simultaneously disquieting and hilarious about a fellow who a) wrote half-arsed Humbert Humbert-ish prose about little girls and b) seemed to honestly believe that little girls are conversant with cryptographic privacy techniques.

Er, yeah, anyway...
posted by jack_mo at 12:56 PM on December 6, 2007


dead girl; mummified finger
posted by pax digita at 1:20 PM on December 6, 2007


Well, that's just super. Now I'm gonna have to connect my internet line to my underground kidnap bunker.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:26 PM on December 6, 2007


report to the Sleepshop.

You mean there's no option to go on Carousel and renew?
posted by pompomtom at 2:46 PM on December 6, 2007


I'm less worried about the child molesters than I am about the abuse of pink and green, not to mention the use of comic sans. Did "Hey, lets market to the kidz!" dot coms learn nothing from the 90s?
posted by DarlingBri at 4:43 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


To sign up for the service, kids need to get a non-parental adult professional as a 'sponsor' who validates their identity and age (much like applying for a passport).
Oh noes! A stranger?! Won't someone think of the children?
posted by vsync at 5:12 PM on December 6, 2007


schoolgirl report ->"On Lastday, all fifteen year olds report to the Sleepshop."
pax digita -> "...mummified finger"

Is it eponystericality-ish day or something?
posted by Orb2069 at 8:12 PM on December 6, 2007


Huh. That's crazy. I want my internet blog to be mailed to me in a physical diary form.

I think there's a service that provides this for Livejournal. It's not official, and I've never used it personally, but someone mentioned it in the comments on the recent Russian-LJ-takeover thread. Apparently it's a utility that crawls your entire blog and grabs all the content+comments and formats it as a book that you can then send to Lulu.com for printing.

also - is there a "brother" site for 6 to 14-year old boys?

4chan?
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:20 PM on December 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


1. Notebook
2. Lock
3. Loose floorboard

Worked like a charm.
posted by zallen at 2:32 PM on December 7, 2007


When you see "Anne" and "diary" in proximity, do you think Green Gables or the Annex? Even calling it "Anne's Journal" would've made it a little less weird.
posted by booksandlibretti at 8:24 PM on December 7, 2007


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