For internet safety reasons, online social networks like Facebook and Myspace are PG-13. This opens up the door for the competition to build age-appropriate social networks, and recruit users at a younger age.
Girlambition is a site for tween girls, from age 7 to 12, that re-creates an environment that is fit for younger girls. Beyond targeting tween girls, the site’s goal is to offer them tools to build up their self-esteem through constructive online/offline activities. Compared to a regular social network that lets users figure out ways to interact between one another, Girl Ambition pro-actively encourages girls to try out new things, cook, express their desires, share feelings, film their tween’s adventures, and overall feel that they can too accomplish great things.
The tools accessible to the users on Girl Ambition are IM, email, video uploads, and a bunch of different pages to share activities. To secure the platform, parents are asked to approve their daughter’s ‘buddy list’, which is the list of contacts the girls are allowed to interact with through their email or IM accounts.
Signing up your daughter to Girl Ambition will cost you $4.99/month. This paying model also contributes to the girls’ safety: you do not want the management to start selling your daughter’s info to third-party marketers because they can’t figure out a revenue model. This being said, I think there will be partnership with brands going on in the social network, something that both the brands and the girls will find beneficial.
Girl Ambition is an ambitious project: Creating a secure online environment is one thing, promising to boost pre-teens self-esteem is another thing that requires less technology and more socio-psychological knowledge and practice. I am going to keep an eye on Girl Ambition, hoping that the company will focus on analyzing how technology and developmental psychology work hand in hand.