Sleepovers and social networks. How do you tie them together? And can you? Also, what are issues related to pre-teens using social networks? According to “2007 BSG Super Sleepover Survey” (with about 500 respondents consisting of girls between ages of 9 and 13) vast majority (92%) have slept over at a friend’s house. It proves a point - that friends still meet face-to-face. It also proves another point - girls still need real social interaction. It doesn’t make any good to have 1000s of friends online if you can only type to them. Real friendships are as important as ever and at this time, the social networking simply can’t replace the traditional human interaction mechanisms. The word friend is changing its meaning, since today it just means someone in your contact list. For pre-teens, being friends probably means more than just chatting up. Of course, sites like MySpace and Facebook make it easier to talk to existing “live” friends. The last element that we shouldn’t forget about is COPPA (Child Online Privacy Protection Act). Theoretically, a girl of that age group (9-13) shouldn’t be able to register at one of those site without parents’ permission. However, all it usually takes is faking a date of birth. This means that in order to avoid liability in the future, the social networking sites should implement some real working methods to verify age (no, check boxes won’t do it!). We’ll return to this topic later, and we’d welcome any comments that you might have.