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Silly Bandz- Parents beware and what to do!?
Yesterday I started to research the newest craze amongst kids and teenager called silly bandz. One place I visited was pretty obviously the Silly Bandz home page at sillybandz.com A no-brainer, when researching something it is always best to start at the source! I planned to write a bog-standard hub about what Silly Bandz are (colorful rubber bands that come in different shapes and forms, are worn by many kids as a wristband and that retain their form even after having stretched a lot as soon as the tension eases. Kind of memory foam type silicone band in cute animal and princess forms. The even have an unicorn on offer).
Slideshow, click arrows to see the story unfold and sorry about the necessary scrolling up and down, I wanted to include the 'whole picture'.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Why are these online poker links a problem?
No, I don't want to police the internet. No I don't want to get all gambling sites banned. And yes, I do believe in freedom of speech and expression. I could perfectly cope with the fact that BrainChildsProductions owns both types of sites (children toys and poker sites), just not that they interlink them. The reason? They brand sillybandz.com as an interactive site, where children can leave letters, photos of themselves and browse the newest products. And I guess a lot of parents just let them do this completely unsupervised, because it is 'just an innocent children's toys website'. Kids are curious, and I personally guess that quite an amount of them clicks through to the poker sites displayed in the footer area of sillybandz.com I don't know about you, but if I would have underage children, I didn't want them to browse online gambling sites – period!
What should you do as a parent?
First of all, if you have children that are Silly bandz fans, have a chat with them if they ever visited the sillybandz.com website and what they did there. Ask them if there was something funny or something they didn't understand on the website. Take it from there, remember, it is not the fault of your children if they ended up on the poker site, it is the responsibility of the person that designed the website.
Depending on the age and sense of responsibility of your children, you might want to either block sillybandz.com from being accessed from your home computer or, as a minimum, block the poker sites themselves from being accessed! There are great parental control programs available (example in the top right of this text block), that help you to monitor which sites your child can visit on the internet and that help you to block the ones you don't want to allow your child to visit.
Do I have anything against Silly Bandz?
No, not at all, actually I couldn't care less about them. But I do find it disturbing, that a producer of children's toys has links to online poker sites on a website that is dedicated to said children's toys and is visited daily by many thousand children!
What is your opinion? Is it ok to interlink sites like this, or are you now concerned? Please leave a comment and / or take the poll to share your opinion.