myYearbook — Social Network meets Online Dating

“Making friends, playing games and even falling in love.”

This is the tagline for the social network, myYearbook. MyYearbook is the #1 teen site most parents have never heard of.  This is not Facebook nor is it an online yearbook. MyYearbook can best be described as social network meets online dating.

MyYearbook is a place to meet new people.

This is not a network to keep in touch with old friends and family. MyYearbook brings members together through features including: Match, Blind Dates, Owned, Ask Me, Games, Battle, and Quiz. Many of these features revolve around answering or asking questions to find new people whom you may like. If you find someone, you can choose to connect with them by viewing their personal profile or contacting them on Live Feed. Live Feed is how users communicate and meet new people on myYearbook.

Members can send their new friends gifts by using myYearbook’s virtual currency, Lunch Money. Members earn Lunch Money as they move through the site, or they can buy it with a credit card. Besides buying virtual gifts, members can use their Lunch Money to donate to Causes, enter bidding wars for pictures in Owned, wager in hotness Battles, or upgrade profile layouts.

This brings me to one of the positive aspects of myYearbook, Causes. Members can donate their lunch money to real charities. At the end of every month, myYearbook  exchanges donated lunch money for real money and writes a real check. MyYearbook caps charitable donations to $20,000 per month.

Building a myYearbook profile page feels more like an online dating site questionnaire. Along with name, age, school and the usual list of favorites, myYearbook  has a section called The Basic Stuff.  The Basics include what a user is looking for:  Friendship – Dating – True Love – Random Play – Business - Whatever I Can Get. Members can also enter sexual orientation, body type, height, political views,  ethnicity, children, religion, income, living situation, smoker or drinker. This information is not anonymous. MyYearbook requires real names and members can link to their Facebook profile. 

MyYearbook does have privacy settings. Users can share as much or as little profile information as they wish. By default, all profiles are available for other members to view but members can change their settings to restrict who can view their profile. However, this site is for meeting new people, so most members keep their profiles public.

Now, what can myYearbook do with all this information?

Anything. The Terms of Service is refreshingly honest but unnerving.  If your kid is on myYearbook they should know according to the Terms of Service & Privacy Policy: myYearbook can do anything with your publicly posted content forever even if you terminate your account; other members  may do whatever they want to your content even if your account is terminated; and you will be tracked and subject to online behavioral advertising.

With its hotness battles and popularity ratings, this is the Jersey Shore of social networks.  This is not a site for young teens. MyYearbook requires members to be “at least a freshman in high school and 13 years old.” 

As a parent, I find little to recommend about this site. If an older teen is on myYearbook, they should remember, even though myYearbook asks for real names, people can be anyone online.Given the anything goes Terms of Service, they should protect their information. Like the Jersey Shore, some teens may find myYearbook a guilty pleasure but they should be careful with what they post and keep interactions online only.

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