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Remembering what Stardoll was really like, by snooping through my pal's old account

Prepare for to remember how embarrassing you were as a child.

ON THE OUTSIDE Stardoll (or Paperdoll Heaven as it’s known to the real veterans), was a harmless, innocent online dress up game typically played by eleven year old girls.

In reality, for a lot of Irish kids it facilitated pretty much all of the online behaviour that your parents told you not to engage in.

stardoll1 Source: Stardoll

This is Aisling (Ash Tray) McDonnell, an Irish artist who has offered me complete access to her perfectly preserved Stardoll account.

Cya @ the bridge on Wednesday my dudes

A post shared by ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@miss_ash_tray) on

The account is now eleven years old, which is the age that Aisling was when she made it. Social media accounts like this are something of a cultural artifact now that all evidence of contemporary sites like Bebo has been erased.

Her profile has conserved some of the garish and tacky stylistic techniques for composing a bio that were typical of the time.

paris hilton Source: Stardoll

For many kids who weren’t allowed on Bebo, Stardoll was a perfect alternative. Very few parents realised that this website was actually a social networking site and not just a vapid dress up game.

Let’s run through some of the best parts of Aisling’s profile, that are secretly embarrassingly familiar to the rest of us. Thank you Aisling for being so open about your past.

Soliciting roses from hot guys

bio1 Source: Ash Tray

2006 was a time when Lost was at it’s peak popularity and it was acceptable to list your favourite foods and fizzy drinks in a bio on a social networking site.

It was common practice to spend a ‘Stardollar’ (the sites currency) to gift roses to other users. Here we see that Aisling, like many others, used that feature to try get boys (very few of which actually used the website) to send her gifts.

All of the random poems people used to fill up their pages with (mind your eyes this is actually painful to read for too long)

bio2 Source: Ash Tray

Whatever your parents feared you were doing online, they never would have guessed that you would have had these terrible rhymes, nationalist sentiments and references to Pussycat Dolls songs on your profile.

bio3 Source: Ash Tray

There were clubs for people with mutual interests to connect, for example Hot-People911 was a group for hot people to join.

hotppl911 Source: Ash Tray

It’s obvious now where Aisling lifted the WARNING I AM A CRAZY CHICK graphics from.

What parents did not know about Stardoll

Admittedly, most of the messages exchanged between young users were like the generic texts you receive from your small cousin who just got their first phone for Christmas.

scouts 2 mins Source: Ash Tray

However, not all of the messages were that innocent. Fortunately, for the sake of me being able to look Aisling in the eye ever again, I found no evidence of flirty messages on her account.

The owners of Stardoll preemptively banned any words like “boob” or “sex” that may have been a bit too mature for their audience. People bypassed being censored by creatively typing the symbols ( . Y . ) to represent the word boobs on their profile.

Remember ASCII art?

ascii Source: Silver Saks

The medium through which people drew cartoon characters (like Fry from Futurama) and band logos to decorate their profiles.

People very often used that to depict page three models on their Stardoll profiles. Why? I’m really not sure but it gave me an awful fright every time I encountered it as a child.

Paying to use the site

There were premium features that every user aspired to have on the website. Purchasing Stardollars with real money promoted your account to the status of ‘Superstar’.

Source: StardollChannel/YouTube

Because one method of payment was mobile phone, many parents did not realise that their children were sneakily paying to use the site. For €2.50 of your credit, you received 25 Stardollars and Superstar status for one month.

25 Stardollars really did not go a long way. It would probably cover one new outfit or a few decorations for your room. For this reason, it became addictive for many children. Very few parents actually realise how much their children spent on Stardollars.

How many people thought their kids were innocently dressing up Gerard Way?

gerard way Source: Stardoll

Or (for some reason) Conan O’Brien?

conan o  brien Source: Stardoll

But in reality, they were talking to strangers online, asking hot boys for roses, sharing ASCII art images of boobs and wasting all of their money on a fake online currency. You wouldn’t get that on Club Penguin.

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About the author:

Kelly Earley

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