According to Boston-based B*tween Productions, an edutainment brand focused on girls 9-13, the patch of life "between toys and boys" can be a challenging time for tween girls. Too old for American Girl and Club Penguin, but too young for SecondLife and MySpace.
B*tween hopes to fill that gap with Beacon Street Girls (BSG), a virtual world designed for tween girls based on the series of wildly popular books by the same name. In addition, B*Tween has prepared worksheets and handouts for educators that are aligned with the BSG book series.
BSG, like other virtual worlds, offers girls a place to meet new friends, hang out with BFF's, create a personal profile, join clubs (groups), play games, listen to free music (Camp Rock!) and decorate their virtual locker.
There is also a BSG Shop where tweens can buy sleepover kits, BSG books, or mini backpack. Compared to other virtual worlds, B*tween seems to have found a good balance between a need to monetize and their responsibility to be ethical youth marketer.
In addition, they have built an impressive Advisory Board, including David Kleeman (President, American Center for Children and Media ), Sheryl S. Leach (Creator of Barney), Dr. Laura Compian, PhD (Manager of Reference Content, Education.com) and Cheryl Kiser (Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College), to keep them on the right path.
In terms of online safety, while there is a "contact us" link in the footer, I also think there should be a more visible "report abuse" link in the footer. I also feel that B*tween should provide links to social networking safety resources such as Yahoo! Safely, ConnectSafely or NetSmartz, in the Parents Section of the site.
Overall BSG provides girls with a positive virtual space for them to being exploring their burgeoning identity and personality--both online and off. All in all, BSG looks like it will be wildly popular with tween girls and their parents.