On Momio, the kids have the possibility to be completely anonymous. We do not require them to provide their real names or pictures of themselves, and there are even rules about sharing private information like your telephone number. This is mainly for security reasons because we feel it is important to think twice before sharing personal information. We often remind the kids that they should discuss with their parents before telling someone for instance their full name or selfies.
Researcher Nancy Baym says that “[t]he sense of safety in anonymous sites may be important for honest self-expression. This can also be important for those who are socially anxious and lonely or who have stigmatized identities”.
The possibility to be anonymous online does not automatically mean that more people are being dishonest, according to Baym. We see examples of this on Momio when kids may have anonymous usernames but are not faking their characteristics and are still staying true to themselves. Being anonymous can give the kids the opportunity to play around and for instance create a momio of a different gender, while the core identity of the person is still shining through. For instance the momio still likes the same kind of music, fashion and pets, but just has a different gender.
The anonymity on Momio can provide a safe haven for kids to be honest. It is common to see momios explaining very openly about difficulties in their everyday life, like illness and other challenges – something that would be hard to discuss with new people they meet face to face.