In the UK alone, more than 3/4 of children between the ages of 10 to 12 have their own social media accounts. So, 21st-century adults entering the complex world of parenthood face a hurdle that has yet to be a concern for said group – protecting your children from the threat of adult content, unfiltered comments, cyberbullying, identity theft and predators. A rather large ask in this social media-obsessed society.
Luckily for parents up and down the country, help is at hand. Rather than risking the ‘FOMO’ backlash from your kids, you can now rely on safer social media alternatives that allow kids to be kids, socialising, sharing and chatting, just without all the risks.
We look at social network alternatives for young people, built with safety and age-appropriate socialising in mind.
Whilst most of us were climbing trees and rushing home to watch Art Attack after school during our adolescent years, in 2013, 12-year-old Zach Marks was casually founding the social media platform, Grom Social, which now boasts 13 million users across 200 countries. Successfully making us feel like our teenage days were somewhat inadequate, Zach has also managed to create a platform that tackles issues that often affect young people using social media; bullying and a lack of safety. Each user interacts with other ‘GromAtars’, and with the site being monitored 24/7, if and when someone tries to post something inappropriate, a GromAtar will stop them and explain why the behaviour will not be tolerated. This concept of learning from ‘peers’ rather than seemingly out of touch parents is a brilliant way of getting through to kids, without patronising them. Parents also receive regular emails detailing their child’s online activity.
Launched in 2001, Kidzworld is now the largest independent website for young people in the world and is hailed as a safe place where kids can enjoy, explore and learn. The focus on education is paramount for this platform, so Kidzworld is often popular with teachers, as it gives them engaging resources and conversation points to use in the classroom. One great feature is the ‘Dear Dish-It’ advice blog, which acts as a forum for kids to ask for personal advice about self-esteem issues, relationships, bullying, peer pressure and everything in between.
Franktown Rocks are all about having fun and socialising through games. It incorporates a multiplayer online game for kids between the ages of 8-12. You can create your own characters, interact and chat with other characters all at once. Franktown is unique in that you can not only play games together but can also make music, complete quests and watch videos. There is also a handy area for parents, answering any questions regarding safety that they may have.
ChatFOSS is a safe place where you can chat with your friends online. You can do all the things you do on other social media apps, but with ChatFOSS you always know with whom you are chatting, and strangers cannot contact you. Even better, the app gives you control of what you share. There is no need to share everything with everyone! Strangers cannot look for you, follow you or find you, only your friends on ChatFOSS will know you have an account. A great app for children where parents can be reassured that no strangers would get in touch with their little ones or people they don’t want to speak to can’t.
PopJam is a platform for 7 – 12-year olds, where you can create and share art, photos and much more. You can also watch specially selected videos, take epic quizzes, play games, discover and follow all the stuff you love! There’s a community of friendly and creative PopJammers who all have their own profiles.
Children using PopJam can’t share personal information and can’t use private chat to communicate with people. PopJam is committed to online safety and child protection, they cooperate with third party companies such as CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) and the NSPCC, to ensure children are safe using the platform.
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