AOL unveils blogging service for teens

Red Blogs allows teenagers and parents to select level of privacy they want for the online diaries.

America Online has announced a new blogging service for teenagers.

Red Blogs, which AOL unveiled Tuesday, allows teenagers and parents to select the level of privacy they want for their online diaries; a private blog can be kept locked. A semiprivate blog is locked to all but those who are invited to read it. And a public blog allows access to anybody on the Net.

However, blogs of younger teenagers, those between 13 and 15, will be locked from general public viewing. Similarly, with semiprivate blogs, parents must approve the list of people invited to read the journals of younger teenagers.

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When AOL asked teenagers in a survey who they were more likely to share their feelings with--parents or a blog--parents narrowly won out, 51 percent to 49 percent, the company said.

Still, most teenagers, 84 percent, said they would not like to share their blog with just anyone on the Web--hence, the varying privacy levels AOL is offering.

The teenagers who read blogs said they prefer Web logs written about people they know and about their favorite musicians, TV shows and movies, according to the survey, which was conducted in conjunction with Digital Marketing Services. Teenagers who read blogs said they are more entertaining than traditional Web sites, the survey said.

AOL's service is designed to let teenagers select their blogs' color and layout and add content such as polls and news.

Every week, AOL will highlight the five most frequently visited blogs, the company said.

"With the unique customization features threaded throughout Red Blogs, we are confident that our more than 5 million teen members will find this the best place online to express their creativity, showcase ideas and share their thoughts with others," Malcolm Bird, general manager of AOL Teens & Kids, said in a statement.

Many Internet companies have launched blogging services. Microsoft's MSN has announced a service called MSN Spaces, and Yahoo is testing a social networking and blogging offering, Yahoo 360, which is scheduled to launch this week.

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