Content marketers working with kid-centered brands may have a new social media channel. Eleven-year-old Zach Marks of Melbourne Beach, Florida has programmed and released a child-oriented social network called GromSocial, according to Wayne T. Price of Florida Today.
Boasting 6,800 members internationally three months after its release, the site receives 2,000 visitors daily and 6,000 page views. Promotion has been mostly word-of-mouth.
The site is proving to be a draw for families who otherwise would forbid social networking for their kids. That’s no mistake. Marks designed the site after his parents forbade him to use Facebook, following exposure to its “unseemly elements.”
The network indeed places a heavy emphasis on child safety. It mostly exceeds the standards of the Federal Trade Commission’s Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) standards, and earned an “A” from the Electronic Trust Foundation, an international organization dedicated to the promotion of online privacy and security.
GromSocial requires parents’ permission before kids can sign up, and the site keeps parents abreast of their children’s activity via email. Users 16 and over are marked clearly as “adult.” A filter can block offensive language, and the site is clear about its policies against bullying, drugs, and smoking.
The social platform regularly features kid-oriented content geared toward positive development. Topics include health, nutrition and exercise, and school issues like safety and studying. There’s also a lot of surfing content — Marks is a surfer.
Darren Marks, father of Zach Marks and president of GromSocial, has invested “tens of thousands of dollars” in the site as “a labor of love,” and “isn’t talking finances yet.” But the future may hold partnerships with child-oriented companies like Nickelodeon and Disney. And while the site doesn’t currently support advertising, it may in the future.