We are a different kind of club. Just to make it clear what we are and how we work, here’s a quick guide for you old folk looking at whether to get your young folk to join us. If there’s anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to know, just drop us an email.
If you’d like to get our latest activity themes in a weekly email, just Click Here!
And ‘we’ means us, you, their teachers, and most adults.
Paid up child members get us ad-free while they’re on our site (did you know that over 3.4 billion food ads were targeted at kids in 2012? We can’t be sure, but we suspect none of them was for broccoli.).
You can find out more about us on our about page.
If you take out a membership to Freaky Rivet for your kids, they will be able to do the following on the site:
- Create their own online character (we call them Rivetars, obviously), and give it a name (within bounds we control) and image (also within our constraints).
- Browse and search for activities they find interesting and fun to do.
- Select activities to do. We call that ‘having a shot at an activity’.
- Upload photos or videos of themselves doing those activities.
- Create new activities for others to do, and upload those to the club site.
- Reward each other for trying out activities.
- Reward each other for new activities that they create.
- Like or unlike each other’s new activities or shots at activities. We call those ‘toots’ and ‘poots’.
- Comment on each other’s activities.
Without a membership, they can still see the activities and do them, but won’t get the additional motivation of creating their own and getting points and onto leaderboards.
All our activities are age-appropriate. But we still have safety instructions with all the activities that we create, and we add these where we can to activities that the children themselves create.
All uploaded activities from kids are reviewed before we release them to the site. If they are inappropriate, or we deem them unsafe, then we won’t release them. But we will email you, the parent, to let you know.
We also do a number of things to keep the site as safe as we can from an online perspective. See the section called ‘Can you trust it’ further down the page.
How we protect your kids online
Here are some of the things we do to protect your kids online.
No names or addresses
All members on the site are anonymous to each other. We don’t show any real names, addresses,school details or so on. We DO have counties or states to allow for leader boards in any specific area.
Your children will be encouraged to post up their activities using video and photos, which is important if we are to get them motivated and motivating each other, but there will be no indication as to where they live other than a county or state. Obviously, they need to also not use their real names or addresses in anything they post up, and we advise them not to do that and suggest you do the same.
No Private Messaging
There is no private messaging within Freaky Rivet. So all communications are open for all to see. That means there is no way that anyone could message someone privately for instance to arrange to meet.
There is an alert button available next to all activity on the site, so that kids (or adults) can report anything that looks inappropriate. We look at these regularly and take appropriate action.
We provide you, the parents, with easy access to all interactions involving your children. That includes both things that they post, as well as things that are posted on their activities and shots. Although everything is open for everyone, we believe this will make it easier for you to filter down to just what your kids are involved with.
Identity of rule-breakers
No one is allowed to post to the site without us having associated credit card details. This means that in case anything inappropriate does happen, we can contact the relevant authorities so that they can take these details and follow up with the individuals who posted up anything inappropriate. This is a key reason why we insist on credit card payments.
We have consulted extensively with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection unit in the UK, who are a part of the police authorities tasked specifically with identifying and dealing with threats to children. We’ve taken all their advice, and even gone over and above it in certain instances. They will liaise with authorities in any other country where a threat is identified.
We also don’t take any adverts on the paid membership site for kids. This is another reason we are a paid membership site – we’ve decided not to pay for the site through ad revenue.
What we do to protect your wallet
We’re also very aware of apps and sites where once you’ve shared your credit card details, it becomes very easy for users on your site account (for which read kids) to spend.
There is no ability for children to buy anything additional without your explicit approval. If they do want something, they can trigger an email to you to request it, but they cannot buy it themselves.
Our view, however, is that we need a balance for our kids of both technology and physical world activities. And we aim to do that in an environment that motivates them.
Most of our activities are about doing things off the computer / gadget / tablet. That’s not because we think technology is bad – to the contrary, we think it’s essential. However, we do believe that children’s development should be balanced with activities in the physical world. So the activities that we create will mainly major on those kinds of activities.
What kinds of activities? Ones that encourage movement and exercise. Ones that encourage creativity. Ones that encourage exploration. Activities to interact with nature, with other people, with learning. And yes, activities that are purely about play. All essential parts of a childhood.
Where we can, we give even offline activities a technical twist or option. That’s for two reasons. First, as we said, we love technology and believe that no child should be disadvantaged in what is arguably one of the most important aspects of their future. Second, because for many kids it makes the activities more fun and engaging, which means that they’re more likely to do them.
Oh, and the VAST majority of the activities that we publish are created either by parents, by teachers, or by specialists in that area.
It is well known that children are motivated by reward (see academic links at the end of this section). But a number of researchers suggest that not all rewards are created equal. The rewards which are most effective and helpful for kids should encourage them to see the value in the activities that they do (mastery) and ones where they feel that they’ve achieved something that many others haven’t done or couldn’t do as well.
In addition, the effect of children on each other through peer motivation is much stronger than through parents in most instances.
We reward members of the club through our use of rivets. Rivets are our point system, which children get for accomplishing certain goals.
Rivets can be best earned through children rewarding each other. They will give each other peer recognition, which is a significant motivator for children.
They are also rewarded for activities well done. The more that children recognise how well something is done, the more rivets accrue to that activity.
We also play to most children’s natural desire to share what they do and show their capabilities (aka bragging rights!). That’s why uploading pictures and videos is central to the Freaky Rivet club.
Our philosophy behind this site has real legs, not virtual ones! It is based on a number of academic studies, as well as the experience of the founders (a teacher of over 1000 children and a parent of 4) and staff. Here are some related studies you may want to look at if you want to look further.
- Motivating Children;
- The Decline of Play and the Rise of Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents (meaning why kids are playing less, and how that’s bad for them!);
- Whole Child: Developing Mind, Body and Spirit through Outdoor Play.
We’re a company, and although we’re a company with an intent to do good (and which supports charities as a part of our business model), we’re not a charity. That means we have costs to pay for in order to provide your children with a safe and fun environment to do things in. These costs include:
- Employing people to create fun activities
- Employing people to monitor interactions and check they’re legit
- Employing people to develop this website
- Various software (including anti-profanity as well as site software)
- Generating a profit so that the club can keep going.
- All the other things associated with running a business.
Charging allows us to do 2 other really important things:
First, it allows us to identify individual adults through their credit cards in case of inappropriate behaviour. So we have the infrastructure of the credit card industry to lean on if we need to suspend anyone, and even report them to the police if need be. See our note about about safety.
Second, it allows us to generate revenue for our costs and to make a profit and survive without having to resort to advertising to kids. Which is something we really don’t want to do unless it becomes the only way to allow us to run the site. If that happens, we’ll make sure we tell you. But we’re hoping you’ll agree with us that a (pretty miniscule) subscription is better than bombarding your kids with ads.
You can unsubscribe at any time, and we won’t share your email with anyone.