Mary Kay Hoal tried everything she could to keep her daughter off of myspace.
She forbade her from using the site, put password locks on the computer and even blocked the site. Still, her daughter found ways to access the popular social networking site. Hoal’s concerns stemmed from information and statistics that showed 29,000 registered sex offenders were on MySpace; one out of every five kids are sexually solicited online, and nine out of ten children are exposed to pornography online.
When she looked for alternatives for parents worried about the dangers lurking in the cyber-shadows, she found none, so she decided to do something about it.
The result is @link href=’http://www.yoursphere.com’target=”_blank”>www.yoursphere.com/link the only social networking site for kids and teens that’s backed by the Federal Trade Commission through the site’s Privacy Vaults approval. The site’s Chief Technology officer worked at the California Department of Justice tracking anonymous online sex offenders, as well as the Megan’s Law database. Moreover, it requires verified parental consent for a minor to log on or join.
www.yoursphere.com has taken the bull by the horns, put a stake in the ground and is saying to the world: what’s happening to kids online is NOT OKAY. Kids need to be protected, deserve to be protected and we’re the only site that’s actually doing something about it in a tangible and meaningful way.
The fact is that the dangers of the Internet for kids are very real, despite the safeguards in place in many homes. According to recent statistics, one out of every five kids is sexually solicited online. Even though it’s a crime for sex offenders to work with children, or live near schools, online sexual predators are interacting with kids online and the anonymity available to them online eliminates offline barriers. Nine out of ten children are exposed to pornography online.
• When was the last time a parent or teacher didn’t get involved offline when their child was being bullied, but online almost half of kids 12 – 17 that are bullied only tell a parent 10% of the time. At yoursphere no one is anonymous. Yoursphere is the only online community that requires verifiable parental consent
• Confirms the identity of the parent providing consent
• Confirms that the parent or guardian providing consent is not a registered sex offender
• Is exclusively for kids and teens through age 18.
• Exceeds COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines for protecting kids online through our approval by Privacy Vaults Inc.
• Whose policy is “no creepers allowed”: predator, sex offender or pornographer targeting youth; any person setting up a profile with the intention to exploit, harass or solicit.
• No fake profiles. (No one is anonymous on Yoursphere.com)
• Offers our members monthly contests and a rewards program.
• Provides a platform for our members to engage in positive activities of shared interest – in “spheres” (sports, academics, music, fashion, moves & TV, art & photo, gaming, notebook).
“The bottom line is that we’re the only place in the online world that that has taken extraordinary measures to help ensure the safety of its members and meets or exceeds standards set by the government,” Hoal said. “Our opinion is that if it’s a behavior that is illegal, immoral or unacceptable offline, then it’s unacceptable online.”
About Mary Kay Hoal:
A proud wife and mother of five children (both biological and adopted, ranging in age from 4-17 years old), Mary Kay faces the same challenges every parent does. While Mary Kay readily admits that she didn’t “get” the whole online social networking phenomenon at first, she quickly recognized its importance in her kids’ lives. After researching the disturbing landscape of social networking sites—including endless inappropriate content and thousands of predators targeting youth—Mary Kay’s mission became clear: raise the bar. Conceived and founded by Mary Kay, Yoursphere is the first social networking service for youth that parents can embrace. Drawing on her corporate entrepreneurial experience as a media strategist, advertising, marketing and publishing VP formerly with CMP Media LLC, Mary Kay built the Yoursphere team.