Grom Social site for kids could halt Facebook's growth

Grom Social site for kids could halt Facebook's growth

Summary: New social networking site Grom Social is created 'by kids for kids'. and is poised to attract young social networkers away from Facebook with its focus on safety and parental approval.

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Grom Social
Credit: Grom Social

There are over 1 billion Facebook accounts which leaves it little space to grow. Facebook needs to attract millennials to continue to grow as it stated in its IPO last year. So perhaps it is about time that Facebook had a competitor which is also aiming to capture the youth market.

However, some parents are concerned about exposing their children to adult content. They also have concerns about privacy and unsuitable language. Some are unhappy about their children using the site.

Zach Marks was one of these children who were prevented from using Facebook by his parents. He lied about his age to create an account on Facebook. He quickly became addicted as Facebook consumed all of his time. He began to accept friend requests from adults that he did not know.

A friend of the family told Zach’s father about Zach’s activities. He had over 600 friends and was exposed to adult content, conversing with adults ‘in a fashion that no 11 year old boy should be doing’ said Darren Marks, Zach’s father.

Zach had to deactivate his account, and a second Facebook account that he activated. The 11 year old then started to look around for another suitable social networks for kids that were ‘safe and cool’.

Not being able to find any suitable sites he decided to create his own site, Grom Social: a ‘Facebook for kids’.

According to the site a Grom is ‘A promising young individual who is quick to learn’. The term is usually applied to boarders or surfers. Grom Social is specifically aimed at children under the age of 16.

Zach’s parents, Darren and Sarah Marks are part of the Grom Social team and make sure that the site meets rigorous standards. Members over 16 years old are marked as adult and must be approved by an existing child's parent or legal guardian.

The site has filters in place and live monitoring as well as adult forum monitors. Emails are sent to parents / guardians to advise them of their child’s contacts and which topics their child is interested in.

Grom Social makes it difficult for children to become influenced by peer pressure.

It supports “No Bullies, and saying No to drugs and smoking” Filters are in place to ensure that even cursing is not allowed on the site. Bullies can be reported by parents and children to the Grom Social account.

The site has almost 7,000 members and around 6,000 page views per day according to Florida Today. It has simple video help topics to help users on the site. There are forums, videos and images and a section to help users with their school work.

Zach wants users of the site to ‘have fun with it’ and he hopes that parents can encourage their kids to make ‘the right choices’ and get their kids on ‘a safe social networking site’.

Grom Social has a real chance to succeed. Social networking sites for under 16’s are limited and children want to join Facebook because their friends are there. Being exposed to adult content makes Facebook a no-no however for many parents.

As membership grows and Grom Social reaches the tipping point with its members, more and more teenagers and pre-teens will turn away from other social networking sites such as Facebook and join their friends on Grom Social.

Then, without the influx of youth, Facebook growth will stall as its value to the next generation diminishes.

Grom Social is certainly one to watch.

Topic: Social Enterprise

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14 comments
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  • Awesome

    Great work, Zach. I hope this continues and grows. I am sure my daughter will love a place that is "just for her".
    dimonic
    • amazing

      great job you did a remarkable job creating this at such a young age!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Frankie grace
  • Good lord

    I replied on anther post about the isolation and dumbing down of the younger generation because of social networking. I can understand the parents concern and need for safety. If I had kids the last thing I want is another site the help youth dig themselves deeper in the pit of isolation and willful ignorance.

    When I hear the likenesses of "for kids by kids" I think of Lord of the Flies.
    Scatcatpdx
    • Not Dumbing Down kids, but Freeing them

      One doesn't let children play with matches, knives, nor razorblades. We keep them from alcohol and pornography. Similarly, sites like this let the kids be free to do social media while still being kids.

      Lord of the Flies?! Pah-lees. Did you ignore the rest of the article? There is "the Grom Social team" which "make[s] sure that the site meets rigorous standards." Think of it more like Chuck E Cheese's slogan "where kids can be kids" (owned and operated by adults for kids).
      Mr. Space
      • I have not ignored the article

        You really don't get what I am saying. I do not see theses sites helping kids to be kids. I say again I say theses site are the pornography of our age.
        I remember kids being kids is sitting with my parents lean how to be and adult learn our history, playing with kids outside learning how to have fun but other important social skills like accountability and not isolating myself to just kids. Leaving kids on these sites is the blind leading the blind.
        I admit I have zero confidence that the Grom Social team knows anything about raising children, or even have ability to monitor them. No site has any ability watch over and nurturing a large group kids online. Hence the Lord of the Flies: dumping children on a isolated virtual Island.
        Maybe they should rename Grom Pleasure Island.
        Scatcatpdx
    • The genie is out

      I can't disagree with your sentiments, but the fact is that the genie escaped the bottle years ago. Grom may at least reduce the evil,
      splatman
  • Small inverted speedbump...

    Except for the fact that, eventually, kids grow up and pass 16 Years of age and will move on to Facebook. All this will represent is a short lived dip in numbers for Facebook as kids move over to a more appropriate forum. Still, this is a good thing, especially the homework part :)
    RyuDarragh
    • The smart strategy ...

      ... for Grom would be to develop an adult version, which the kids can migrate to as they grow up. That would make Grom an ongoing threat to FB -and a tempting take-over target.
      splatman
  • Facebook's option

    Of course, if Grom proves to be too much of a threat, Facebook has the money to swoop in and buy them up, then figure a way to integrate in such a way that when they reach 16, their account is automatically converted to a Facebook account. Problem solved....for Facebook.
    jrbales@...
    • And ...

      And billions made by young Zach :-)
      splatman
  • Good idea but......

    Not sure this is such a great idea.
    Can you guarantee my child 100% that he's not talking to some old pervert that wants to meet him at the mall?
    At least on Facebook I can see who his friends are and ask about any dispensaries.
    Not sure the kids aren't being lured into a false sense of security here.
    expat23
  • Well that was quick to break

    With over 9000 clones of the above story over the internet within a day (with the same picture used), the site has been bogged down by people wanting to check it out/join, now it's slowed to a crawl and is unable to function at all, constantly timing out and useless.

    You don't launch a product like this without enough bandwidth available for the influx in new users, especially if you know it's going to be a success! Kid get some good friends with advice on how to make a successful company without these kinds of growing pains. I've not been able to get it yet, but I assume it supports groups, ie school's, classes, same hobby groups etc - that is the only way for kids to find any real value, by sharing the same interest with actual people ;)
    Glenn Chugg
    • Even Facebook themselves..

      ..had growing pains.
      AlterSol
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