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Family-friendly social networks take aim at Facebook

Facebook is a wonderful way to stay in touch with the people you care about, but just how safe is it for kids these days? What began as a deliberately closed college network has since been cracked wide open — now anyone with an e-mail address can start adding friends and populating a profile page. That's where Everloop, one of many new family-centric social networks, comes in. Everloop is targeting tweens, a particularly plugged-in and vulnerable demographic, with a closed-off kind of networking that keeps parents very much in the loop.

On Everloop, parents get a notification when kids collect new "connections," the network's equivalent of Facebook friends. Everloop aims to weed out the threat posed by online interactions with strangers, letting parents keep close tabs on kids and keeping social circles small and intimate.

Of course, Everloop isn't unique among these new family-friendly networks. A service called Neer offers another promising option, aiming to shrink down social networking to your innermost circle of family and friends with location-based alerts and a bright, tiled interface.

Still, it's difficult to know if networks like Everloop and Neer will be able to gain any traction. Web-savvy tweens know they can find most of their friends on Facebook already, and luring them away from the hyper-connected world of "likes" and "pokes" certainly won't be easy.

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