How big that bandwagon actually is is debatable, but nevertheless, Skanz (owned by QR Media) is giving it a shot, releasing a series of multicolored bracelets that feature QR codes (the barcode-like things you might have seen popping up on advertisements or billboards lately) for kids to share. Those QR codes will lead to the wearer’s personal SkanzJr website, where they can post favorites lists, music videos, likes and dislikes, and a profile icon. No personal identification data is involved in the process (e.g., name, address, phone number, etc.).
If the kids don’t have a device that can scan QR codes (which seems more likely than not, considering this is targeted towards kids ages 7-12), they can also enter an alphanumeric code on the SkanzJr website, though that seems to take away from the immediacy and spontaneity that would make something like this fun for kids. Parental controls are a little hazy, as kids are trusted to enter a parent’s email address during registration to inform them of the registration, while entering in their year of birth to ensure that all content remains age-appropriate. That seems like it leaves a little bit too much parental control in the hands of the kids (many of whom could, in theory, fudge the birth year and enter a friend’s email address as a parent’s address, if they really wanted to), so if you’re a parent, you’ll definitely still need due diligence.
Having said that, the personalized QR websites are pretty light-hearted, and don’t leave very much room for questionable content in the first place. As long as parents are reasonably cautious, they could be a fun way for kids to establish their identity among their friends, with a 21st century twist. It just remains to be seen whether or not QR codes are the best vehicle for that.
The SkanzJr Bandz are $9.99 each, and can be purchased online from skanzjr.com, toysrus.com, and fao.com.
Update 12/17/2011: Skanz reached out to us and wanted to point out that, although no personally identifiable data is required, they wanted to have parental involvement and therefore they require a parent’s email address.