Ourteennetwork.com has existed since 2012 and still offers its services to teenagers from around the world. It’s a website made exclusively for teens where they can meet, get to know, and interact with other minors their age.
The goal of Our Teen Network is to provide a platform for boys and girls ages 13 to 19 and make sure that no adults join the interaction. Here, teens can make friends with other teens in a fun venue, and also ask for a date and maybe even develop a relationship.
Dating is a part of teenage life, and the site offers an opportunity for these kids to carefully scrutinize the character of their online crush before they commit to anything. It’s a more laid back approach compared to how things happen in the real world and when face-to-face with each other. There’s almost no pressure, and it gives a teen a chance to figure it out.
As an anonymous visitor, you’re allowed to navigate the site freely but can’t interact with anyone. You can perform filtered searches, open member profiles, and view their photos. You can also visit the forum, go to any topic category, and read posts made by members.
Unless you register, your presence is limited as a mere observer. Joining and using the site’s features are free. Once you’ve created an account, you become part of their online community of teens. You can start joining in the forum groups covering various topics and participate in discussions.
You can also start topics of your own. It’s common to see titles like “I’m looking for a boyfriend my age,” “Hi, I’m gay and looking for a partner,” or “I’m shy, so can you guys help me out,” from the members. It can also be any topic under the sun that teens typically talk about, like dating, games, fashion, sex – you name it.
A more private way of communication with other teens is through PMs and chat, similar to Facebook’s messenger. Video chats are also possible. If there’s a mutual attraction and an eyeball meet can be arranged, they can set up a date in real life. Dating usually happens if the partners live nearby, but it would be almost impossible if they’re in countries or states that are far apart.
With it being a site exclusively for teens, several strict rules are in place for their protection. Hate speech, racism, harassment, bullying, and violent threats of physical harm aren’t tolerated. Even expressions of self-harm, especially suicide, aren’t allowed.
The same goes for anything sexually explicit, which includes verbal interaction and images. Also, inciting others towards unruly behavior is equally frowned upon on the site. There are moderators present to keep tabs on things and are also on the lookout for fraudulent accounts.
Visiting the website will take you to the Home Page, where you can sign in if you already have an account. Just beside it is a “sign up” button if you want to join Our Teen Network. They’ll only accept new members who are 13-19 years of age. The website also requires their parents’ consent before they can join the community.
Teens will be signing up for a free service, and that includes the registration process. While visitors can examine the site to see what it’s about, teens will need to create an account to use the features. They have to indicate their sex, and their general location like a city or town, along with a unique username and password.
Another thing required is a valid email where Our Teen Network can validate the account of a new member. They can also send regular service announcements as well as administrative messages. Teens can’t opt-out of receiving these emails as in other sites because they’re considered vital to the safe operation of the platform.
They will also ask if the teens have a Kik, Snapchat, and other social media usernames, and those will be reflected on the site. It’s another means to help teens socialize online with a press of a finger or click of a mouse button.
After the verification of the account, the teen can join the community and start enjoying the platform’s features.
The first thing you’ll notice on the home page is a banner at the top. This feature has a light blue background containing navigation buttons for the different pages on the site. It includes Home, Teens, Forum, and Chats. The design is straightforward and nothing fancy. It can be described as functional at best.
Selecting “Chat” near the top right of the home page will take you to the chat room. You must be a registered member with a validated email address before participating in the live discussion.
Below this banner is the Teen section showing a thumbnail gallery of member profile pics with their usernames depending on the tab selected. Selecting any of these tabs would take you to the member search. Selecting the “Teen” option at the top of the homepage would take you to the same member search. Tabs included are:
You can fine-tune your search with various tweaks. For example, you can set the lower end (13 or above) and the higher end (19 or below) of the members’ age range. You can also look only at their photos or “all” profile contents.
Further down is a handy “Social Username” section with various social media sites like Kiks, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, Skype, and Tweeter. Selecting any of them will bring you to another search that you can also fine-tune by the members’ sex and age range. It will also show a gallery of members and the usernames they use on the social media site that you chose.
At the bottom is the “Teen Forum” section featuring topic discussion threads started by teens that belong to different groups. You’ll see them arranged in two columns, and clicking on one thread will take you to that discussion. Selecting the heading of the section or “Forum” on the top banner will take you to the “Teen Dating Forum” page.
Listed are groups that members can join with subjects such as Eroticism, Friendship, Gamers, Gays, Geeks, Hipsters, Lesbians, and several others. Choosing any of them will list down all the discussion threads under those groups. You have to be a member of a group to participate in those threads.
The profile design of Our Teen Network, just like everything else on the site, is pretty rudimentary. There’s not a single text describing who and what they’re about from the members.
Left-clicking on the profile photo will enlarge it. On the right of the profile photo, a few personal information is listed about the member. At the top of this infobox is the username, which can be anything other than a real name. There’s also an indicator on the right of the username if they are online.
Directly under the name is the teen’s age, sex, and origin. Listed below that are some of the person’s followers and the number of visits to the profile. The member could also enumerate their various social media links. Keep in mind that linking a Facebook page, for example, would publicly reveal the teen’s real name.
Underneath all of that is a thumbnail gallery of the member’s uploaded photos. Hovering the mouse pointer on a thumbnail will enlarge it a bit, and left-clicking on it would open a window showing the full image. Left-clicking anywhere outside it will bring back the profile.
Further down the page is a section showing the Groups that the member belongs to if there are any. The bottom section shows the Last Post that the member made.
So far, all we’ve seen is an “.apk” app for Android devices for downloading from the Internet. It’s virtually a clone of their desktop version but providing the advantage of mobility. Teens can access the service from almost anywhere they go. It makes it easy to communicate with their friends in Our Teen Network anywhere and anytime during the day.
As you probably noticed, the pages, forums, member profiles, among others, in Our Teen Network are public. Members may come up in searches, and some activities are viewable by anyone from around the world. It’s not clear how long it’s been in place, but they have hired a security service that filters out unqualified IP addresses, it seems.
It’s also not clear what kind of method they use to filter out visitors. One could presume it’s their browsing history or whatever criteria, but it will prevent some people from accessing the site. For further protection, the teens are allowed to use a pseudonym instead of their real names.
The teens also have the responsibility to keep themselves and their accounts safe. They have the option to keep their profile hidden so that no one can view them without permission. The site advises them to create a strong password that’s unique to Our Teen Network. Moreover, teens aren’t encouraged to share their details with others unless it’s someone who they trust.
The website has moderators who try to weed out as many of the undesirables as they can. On top of that, it also uses the latest security protocols and data protection following regulatory requirements to prevent unauthorized access, theft, and other security risks.
Private messages and chats, however, are almost impossible to police. It’s where teens should be responsible for their safety and not divulge or do anything that would put them in a compromising situation.
The staff removes accounts from the membership base that have been inactive for at least 90 days. They also eventually delete the accounts of members when they reach the age limit of 20 years.
Our Teen Network doesn’t charge anything for teens to use its facilities and features. The only thing they expect from the members is to follow their rules and regulations for their protection.
The website earns money through ads, which can be a bit annoying. They need it, however, to pay for staff and to maintain the service, so it’s understandable.
Benefits to teen members include having a profile where they can upload pictures and share their social media usernames. There’s also an extensive forum with various groups covering all sorts of topics up for discussion. Sometimes games are introduced. Teens can also send private messages and chat with other teens that they trust.
Members are encouraged to get online help, make comments, and suggestions by emailing the site at [email protected] The staff is always open to any questions, opinions, or complaints. Members can also unsubscribe from Our Teen Network via the same email.
On their contact page, they list down a variety of websites where teens can get tips on how to stay safe online. The suggested sites include the Federal Trade Commission, Cyberbully411, Internet Keep Safe Coalition, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Social Networking Safety, and others.
To make sure this platform is suitable for you, check out this FAQ list.
Our Teen Network does what it can with data protection and its moderators, but it would be difficult to control the private interaction between members. Much of the members’ safety would rely on their responsibility to protect themselves. They’re also encouraged to report any trouble they experience on the platform.
It’s a platform where teens can get to know other teens, opening the possibility of finding a boyfriend or girlfriend. There are, however, no matchmaking algorithms or other dating services like those we typically see in other dating sites.
Joining is free, and merely having yourself verified as a teenager between 13 and 19 through a valid email will grant you access to the website. On it, you can join forum discussions, message other teens, join chats, and build friendships. One of those friendships could blossom into a young romance.
Yes, the brand is free. Any teen within the right age range of 13-19 can join for free and use the site’s features without spending a single cent.
It’s like any other social media site where you get to meet other people. Teens, in particular, are provided by Our Teen Network with a platform to find and connect with that special someone. The fact that the website tries to make sure only teens are allowed to join makes it a more effective platform for teen dating.
Our Teen Network goes to the lengths necessary to look after its teen membership base and ensure that they are indeed within the 13-19 age range. Any member involved in hate, caught sharing or demanding sexually explicit material, bullying, or any other unacceptable behavior are dealt with swiftly.
Dating is a normal part of the lives of teens growing up. While it’s not a perfect venue, Our Teen Network tries to nurture a friendly, safe, and wholesome environment for them to interact with other teens.
It needs more innovations and a better design so it can compete with the likes of Facebook. Ultimately, it’s a place where teens can hang out and socialize with kids their age with the primary purpose of removing the adult demographic from the mix.