Prezi – You must be 18 years old – or, if the age of majority in your state or province is greater than 18 years, such age of majority in your state or province – or have obtained the consent of your parent or guardian to use the Prezi Service

Voicethread – You must be at least 13 years or older to register and use this Service. If you are under the age of 13, you must use an account created by a parent or guardian, and you must have the explicit permission of a parent or guardian to use the Service.

Above are just two examples from countless websites that state users must be over 13/15/18 to use and access them. Yet I know of some outstanding work going on in the primary classroom using these tools and others like them. So what is a school to do?

Do we:

  • Make a class account and have all of the children log-in with this? (I’ve done this with Prezi)
  • Let the children sign-up to these tools with their own email and then it’s ‘not your fault’?
  • Sign them up using a school email – after all, both of the examples above mention guardian and we are loco parentis are we not?
  • Ask parents for permission for their children to use these sites?

This issue has troubled me for a while. I love these tools as well as Voki, Zooburst, MyEBook and others like them but they are all bound by this over-13 limit. For most of them, I don’t understand why. Unless the service allows you to browse through a library of old videos and saved files and some of these were inappropriate, then what’s the problem?

Are the terms there just for the sake of it? Does it matter if we use the sites in the primary school? I know I have to be careful as our work gets put on the blogs which gets seen by the public and people on Twitter and I wouldn’t want it to look like our school was advocating children breaking the law.

So what do you do in your school? Do you use Voki? Vimeo? Animoto? These all have all restrictions. I think what I will be doing in my school is asking for parental permission. In the same way I ask for permission to use children’s photos, I will be asking for parents to agree to let us use these tools. Is it brave? Is it stupid? Would we even be covered by law? (although saying that, if the police come and arrest me because year 4 made a Voki, I’d be surprised – I’m sorry sir, I’m arresting you for illegally making a talking koala).

I would make it an opt-out agreement so that everyone can use the service unless their parents had a huge problem with it. I am very happy to share my ideas with parents, after all they only need to Google me to find this post! I would have to be careful to ensure the site was suitable and didn’t contain libraries of dodgy pictures etc, but I would’ve done that anyway.

So what do you think? Am I going down the right road? Am I totally wrong? Or am I caring too much about a problem that doesn’t really exist if we all keep quiet? I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this as I want to give these exciting tools to my children.