Sweety High is a new Web site aimed at preteen to teenage girls. It's a little social networking, a little music video and a little Web show. The theme of the site centers around a Web series called Sweety High, which features a cast of teenagers navigating the world of high school. The trailer for the show plays as soon as you go to the site. If you have a daughter in the preteen years, and have to watch such shows as iCarly, Sunny with a Chance, or Wizards of Waverly Place, you'll be familiar with this genre. There are friends, conflicts, teen lingo, music, and ultimately, resolutions.
Aside from the Web series, though, the site looks like Facebook gone pink. There's a locker where you can post a photo of yourself and decorate it by adding music, photos and videos, either from the site or elsewhere. Inside the locker is also a Chalkboard, similar to the wall in Facebook where you can post comments, photos and videos that your friends can see. There is also a status update, which is much more like an away message on IM than the wall feature of Facebook in that the status goes away as you change it.
Other features of the site include Sweety Tube and Sweety Tunes, where videos and music drawn from a variety of sources appear. Girls can upload their own videos to the site and have them featured. There are also discussion boards where girls can post topics in a forum-like format. The Twilight books are a popular topic at the moment. And there are contests that amount to voting which boy is cuter than another, i.e. Jacob vs. Edward from Twilight.
By far, my daughter's (10) favorite part of the site was the quiz section. The quizzes are silly, like all Web quizzes are, but she thought they were a lot of fun to take.
The site features a point system where girls earn points by participating in the site, i.e. taking quizzes, updating their status, participating in discussions, etc. There are virtual prizes available at different point levels. There are also purchasable memberships, called joining the society, at a variety of price levels that open up more site options and award prizes.
If the site sounds a bit confusing, that's because it is. We figured it out after spending some time poking around, but it was not as intuitive as it could be. We found the point system confusing and not particularly motivating, which seems to be the main reason for having it.
While the site is feature rich and is definitely girl-friendly, my daughter wasn't thrilled about most of it. She felt that most of the material was too old for her and that it would probably appeal to girls who are 13 or so. She also felt it was "too girly." There is, indeed, a lot of focus on makeup, boys, and fashion. And while that may be the main focus of many teen and preteen girls, those topics didn't appeal to my daughter and they turned me off as well. The site definitely seems like a safe online social space for girls, but it doesn't really provide a place to "foster creativity" as much as it could. The ability to post videos was a plus as far as my daughter was concerned, but that was about the only creative option that we could find.
Overall, then, the site is not a bad attempt at creating an online space for girls, but it could be less "girly" for wider appeal. It could also be a little more streamlined so that it's clearer what to do. It's worth checking out if you have a girl in the 12-14 age range and whose interests tend toward fashion, makeup, and boys. Otherwise, you might want to find another online space for your teenage girl to hang out in.