GromSocial: Safe social network created by kids for kids
By Andy Merrett - Jan 17, 2013
A 12-year-old boy, twice banned by his father from using Facebook, has created his own social network designed exclusively for children.
GromSocial was created by Zach Marks of Melbourne Beach, Florida, after asking his mother for permission to build a ‘safe’ site for his friends and siblings to use, and borrowing $2,500 from his older brother to fund its development.
After four months, Zach’s work so impressed his father that the whole family pitched in to get the word out.
“After seeing Zach interacting on Facebook, with older kids and adults that were using language unsuitable for any child, I wanted to take control of the situation and eliminate my children’s exposure to unprotected social platforms. Amazed by what Zach put together we began contacting schools in the area and passed out material promoting the GromSocial network and getting about 500 members overnight,” said Zach’s father Darren Marks.
“Parental approval is an integral part of the site and is required before a child can begin experiencing the many wonders of the site. We built an environment that not only gives parents continued control but encourages safety and allows kids to be themselves. We have anti-bullying, anti-drug and anti-smoking sections. Educational videos are available in the Grom tutorial section for grades 1-10, in addition to places where kids can comment on current events and of course games and entertainment. We wanted to create a safe and secure place that benefits kids’ lives and we are hearing back from parents that it is doing just that.”
The site now gets over 25,000 daily visitors from as far afield as China, India, Indonesia, Australia, Russia and Europe as well as the United States.
Visitors are quickly converted into “Gromers” a term coined on the site by kids after a few short visits. The word Grom is an Australian slang term for a young surfer which Zach translated into “a promising young kid, who is quick to learn”.