Web 2.0 for the Under 13s crowd

As I lamented in my last post, many of the fabulous Web tools out there are restricted to users 13 and over. This limits what Elementary/Primary schools students can access online to create content to collaborate. To save others at school some time, then, I have compiled a list of popular/well known Web tools that can and can’t be used by children under 13 – 1), so we are legally covered in what we are allowing our students to use and 2), so they know what is available. Please note that generally the sites that allow for under 13s still ask for parental permission ( even Edmodo if you haven’t read the Terms of Use) so a solid school user agreement is needed to use these tools. Some of the sites are not US based so are not bound by COPPA and CIPA regulations. It still requires schools to carefully check out what can be viewed on these sites to ensure they are appropriate to access.

The difficulty with some sites’ policies is that they don’t all state emphatically that Under 13s are not allowed. They just refer vaguely to not being intended for use or not knowingly seeking personal information from Under 13s. In some cases we have personally contacted sites to confirm their policy. I recommend you do the same – I’m not a lawyer; I’m just expressing my opinions. The links below generally take you to the Policy or FAQ sections to explain use/non-use by students under 13.


Available to Under 13s – Free Available to Under 13s – Paid Restricted to 13 and Over
Animoto for Education (strict supervision expected as outlined in Education Terms) Here is some info about setting up student accounts GlogsterEDU (Teacher account that can be used to create private student accounts linked to Teacher account- 30 Day Free Trial available which saves your work and students’ if you want to continue with paid option )  Glogster (free account not allowed for Under 13s)
Diigo (Teacher account that can be used to create private student accounts linked to Teacher account ) Xtranormal for Education (Teacher controlled accounts)GoAnimate for Schools (secure environment)  Shelfari ( access to any type of book on Amazon so right to limit access to 13 and Over )
Edmodo (Secure teacher controlled system) BitStrips for Schools (secure environment controlled by teacher) Twitter and Facebook ( we all know that even though millions are on Facebook)
StoryJumper Classroom Edition ( Like Edmodo, a secure teacher controlled system) Zooburst for Educators (secure Teacher Controlled environment Sliderocket(recently changed their policy to not allow Under 13s   – confusing because it implies that with parental permission Under 13s can register and yet they blocked our accounts)Prezi (actually limited to 18 and over)
StoryBird for Schools ( same as StoryJumper) TikiToki (Education account has more options) Xtranormal( it is very easy to find some inappropriate animations on Public version – right to block)GoAnimate
Symbaloo (no special conditions – can search for general public’s symbaloos but generally a barebones bookmark button site) Voki (Teacher managed environment) ToonDoo (very clear wording in policy about Under 13s -even the ToonDooSpaces for Schools)
DropBox ( tricky one – not directed towards Under 13s but if permission granted and no Personal Information is provided – teacher sets up account without using child info – it seems to be OK. School discretion I feel on this one. If web based system is avoided, I can’t see a problem – it’s just like saving to computer)  Evernote (paid account required for sharing and collaborating on notes) Zooburst (a pop up book maker not available to under 13s makes no sense to me but laws are laws!?)
Popplet (not sure about this one – am awaiting a reply to an email I sent for clarification – will change here as soon as I receive reply)UPDATE:reply from Popplet says that as long as teacher creates the account and is responsible in monitoring the account, under 13s can use.                          PollDaddy (can’t work out how why this kind of site is restricted but it is. If you have the iPad app at least the students can conduct the surveys but teacher will have to publish them and log in for results)SurveyMonkey (mentions minors for other countries and Under 13s for USA)
VoiceThread ( a free account must be created by a parent or guardian with permission )  GOOGLE ACCOUNTS        (including Public Google Docs. Hard to find this policy without searching- not in Terms of Use section –  but it is clear on Under 13s restrictions)
Prezi EDU ( Tricky one – hard to read policy but after checking forums found a response to a question regarding Under 13s from official Prezi rep that stated with specific parent permission Prezi can be used by Under 13s. See forum links here and here ) SchoolTube ( lacks clarity – can view but can’t upload is my interpretation)YouTube (public site restricted to 13 and Over in terms of user accounts – but like Facebook a lot using it anyway.Schools have to be aware of the terms though.)Vimeo (quite clear in the wording of their policy re: Under 13s)
MULTIMEDIA AVATAR                   
Voki (Supervision recommended, parental permission required and personal information avoided
Weebly for Education ( teacher creates student accounts )
Wikispaces (parent email or teacher setup only)
Edublogs ( no mention of Under 13s – Schools to think about level of privacy settings)Kidblog ( must be over 13 to register but can use with permission if someone else registers for under 13 student)
BitStrips (parent email contact for approval)
 GOOGLEAPPS FOR EDUCATION                     School wide implementation required

Permission for Under 13s required 

 Wordle   Tagxedo
TikiToki (limited Free account)
Evernote ( another confusingly worded policy – suggests the service is not directed at children but then implies that its more about private information and letting parents know its happened. Get permission, create the accounts and probably OK. )


Even though I complained in my last post about restrictions, you can see from this chart that there are still plenty of tools available for the Under 13s. Some of the free options are restricted compared to the paid equivalents but you are paying for the secure environments provided by the education versions. I’m going to continue to investigate more possibilities and add to this post during the year. I’ll also be checking in regularly to see if the policies change ( as happened with SlideRocket) to ensure we are complying with legal requirements. I recommend everyone do the same. It’s one thing for parents to let their kids access sites without checking the terms of use but as schools we can’t be complacent.

Contact sites if you are unclear what their policies are saying. Discuss the possibility of using level budgets to pay for some of the paid options – while they do cost money, they may be better use of money than superfluous stationery or an excursion for the sake of an excursion. Above all, if we are to convince politicians and educational leaders that the Under 13s need access to the Web to learn responsible digital citizenship, then as teachers we need to be responsible and vigilant in their use of the Internet.

Would love to hear from others about other tools I have not listed above that are accessible to the under 13s. Join the conversation.

33 thoughts on “Web 2.0 for the Under 13s crowd

  1. Thank you for doing this work for us. I get frustrated when I want to have my students create different projects and then find out I can’t because of email or other restrictions. This helps out quite a lot.

  2. Evernote is a great note taking tool that is web based an can be used on the the iPad. Accounts are allowed with parents permission or schools can create student accounts; however it must be a part of the AUP. Thank you for taking the time to create this list. Nothing is more discouraging than to create lesson, perfect the workflow on to find out that the applications you are planning to use are not for the elementary school student!

    • Added. Like Dropbox, the policy is a little confusing but as you explain,cwithvright permission and user policy, seems to be allowable. Wish these sites would be clearer. Love Evernote. Haven’t used it with students yet.

  3. Reply from Popplet re: use by under 13s

    Hi Mark,
    Thanks for your email.
    Our policy is that if a teacher wants to use Popplet with students under 13, the teacher just needs to create the account for the student and be responsible for the students use of it.
    Let me know if that doesn’t answer your questions.
    Rebecca from the Popplet Team

    • Makes me wonder why the policies can’t just say it like this instead of all the legalistic jargon that just scares us off from using sites.

  4. Thank you for putting this list together. It helps when we come across something we are considering to already have a feel for what restrictions might be there. I’m betting that some who see this list will be surprised – “but we use that already!”

    • No probs, Chris. We were the same last year. Students were Xtranormalling everywhere before I found out it was not for under 13s ( and I found some ‘interesting’ public animations for adult viewing. For years no one has ever read those long winded terms when installing software or using web tools. No one cares at home bu when you are responsible for other people’s kids, you have to be aware.

  5. Thank you for this Mark, a comprehensive and useful list. it is relieving to know that we are on the right track at my school with what we are currently using, although given the number of websies one would imagine there would be way more. Have you checked out photopeach and themeefy?

  6. As a 5 th grade teacher, I really appreciate this list. I also appreciate your introduction to Andertoons.Those cartoons are hilarious!

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  9. Hi Mark,
    A great piece of work pulling this together. Just wanted to add that for Google Apps for Education the school is required to get parental permission for under 13’s:
    “Customer acknowledges and agrees that it is solely responsible for compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, including, but not limited to, obtaining parental consent concerning collection of students’ personal information used in connection with the provisioning and use of the Services by the Customer and End Users.”

    • Thanks Andy. Missed that. Google seems to bury their conditions sometimes. Took me a while to find the Google Docs Under 13s conditions. Will add this to main post

  10. With regard to Google Docs, could an under 13 student access a document set up by the teacher using their +gmail account created for the educational Animoto account?

    • http://www.google.com/publicpolicy/issues/family-safety.html

      “Google works hard to provide anyone using our services with a safe and positive experience. Our services are not intended for children without supervision, and those under 13 are not allowed to create Google accounts. We require new users who register for Google accounts to provide birth dates to keep children under 13 from signing up. And if we find out that a Google account belongs to a user who is under age, we remove the user’s account in accordance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.” (From the linked policy in my section on Google Accounts)
      Like everything related to these laws, you need a lawyer to work it out😉. Those +gmail accounts to set up other web tools don’t get used to access Google docs; they’re just a method for not using identifiable info about under 13s to cover the other website’s back. I don’t have an answer because I’m not a lawyer.

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  15. Thanks for this helpful website. The Schooltube terms seem to have been updated though, and I found this:
    “D. Responsibility for Minors. All minors must be authorized by a parent/guardian or an approved teacher in order to create a full Child Account. Adults must create either a Parent Account or an Organization (“Moderator”) Account to access the site. These Adult account roles must go through verification processes stipulated by the FTC in order to validate a child’s account and approve usage of the Site. In cases where you have authorized a minor to use the Services, you recognize that you are fully responsible for: (i) the online conduct of such minor; (ii) controlling the minor’s access to and use of the Services; and (iii) the consequences of any misuse by the minor. YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT SOME AREAS OF THE SCHOOLTUBE SERVICE MAY CONTAIN MATERIAL THAT IS INAPPROPRIATE FOR MINORS.”

    It appears that U13’s can be registered for Schooltube by their teachers.

    • Thanks Megan. I put this together a year ago but will start having a look at sites again and update. There are some new tools I use I’d like to add.

  16. If you’re updating for this year I believe xtranormal has gone dark :-(

    Thanks for taking the time to put together this list. Great starting point for teachers!

  17. This is exactly why we started KidzVuz.com – the only video site by and for kids. We are COPPA compliant, built specifically for kids ages 7-13. And we’re not just COPPA compliant, all of the videos are watched by a member of our moderating team before being published so we can make sure that kids do not reveal personal info in the videos, and all comments are read to ensure there’s no bullying.

    It’s distressing how few teachers know or understand COPPA law and ask their students to make videos on YouTube, or tweet or create Facebook posts.

    Last month I wrote an entire post about a professional development “expert” who was telling elementary school principals that 1st grade teachers should be using Twitter as a teaching tool. It’s both illegal for kids under 13 to be on twitter – and unethical for teacher to be encouraging it.

    There are tools out there for kids under 13 – but teachers need to know about them, and be given better resources to both discover and share them.

    Rebecca Levey
    Co-Founder, KidzVuz.com

  18. Your list is so very helpful. Do you have any recommendations for online simple audio recorders? This would be for world language teachers who want their students to quickly and easily open their Chromebooks and record something they have been practicing, either alone or with a classmate.
    There are over 13 and over 18 tools but I am stumped. Vocaroo may be my favorite if students can save file in Google docs and turn in. http://www.recordmp3.org/ is another option.

  19. Prezi is free for basic and Edu accounts – I give the students my account details and we all share the one account. Prezi IS actually okay for under 13’s with parent permission anyway..I checked with them this year and they said WITH parent permission its fine.

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