Well, it’s maybe not such a crazy notion because that’s basically what Zachary Marks did. And oh, did I mention that he is ELEVEN?! A potential mini-Zuckerberg in the making here, people!
The site is called GromSocial.com and is for users 6-15 years old (plus parents, and other adults that parents can approve to join). It’s aligned with national safety regulations regarding kids’ privacy on the Internet, and there are nearly 7,000 members using the site.
Okay so, from what I can tell it’s not like Zachary has built this site from the ground up all alone (a whole host of adults make up the Grom Social Team), but STILL! Based on the “Grom Social Story” page it sounds like he’s been really involved in the process to make this site that covers a ton of topics from sports to peer pressure.
The basic lesson from this story is that Zachary is much better than me at technology. I wouldn’t even know where to start if I even had an idea for a social network site. I can barely use the ones we have now! It took me forever to understand how to do that thing on Facebook where you can tag your friends in posts – and I am currently getting my master’s degree in web-based technology. Get it together, Meghan!
In all seriousness, I’m always amazed by how tech savvy kids are these days, but I also am a big proponent of online safety and it worries me that some younger kids don’t totally know how to navigate social networks safely. In the Grom Social Story, Zachary himself admits he made a few unsafe social networking decisions back when he was a user on different site, like sending friend requests to adult strangers. Big uh oh.
Social media is a big part of our culture now, but it is also really something you need to learn how to use safely and responsibly. I hope a site like Grom Social can help younger kids learn and share in the cool things about social networks, but in a safe way that also educates them about social networking dos and don’ts.
In the mean time, let me go back to cruising around Facebook now and feeling like a failure for not coming up with my own social network. Sigh, maybe one day…
Would you ever want to launch your own social networking site? Do you think we need more education about online safety for kids? Tell us in the comments.