There are lots of good reasons mainstream social media platforms aren’t appropriate for kids under 13. But that doesn’t stop them wanting to connect with friends online.
The good news is there are some great options for safe social sharing for the younger set.
Here are three you might like to test-drive.
Azoomee combines features of a learning app, an entertainment app and a safe social media platform offering age-appropriate games, music, stories, videos, drawing, and chatting with friends.
Parents start by creating a master account, and specifying an age for each child’s account. Kids can connect with friends by swapping their unique friend codes, but parental approval is necessary for all friendships. Users get access to a wide range of video, audio, gaming and creative content - all of it hosted by Azoomie. That means kids aren’t using YouTube or other outside tools or sites.
Since the subscription rate covers all of the child accounts on a log-in, families with multiple kids will get more bang for their buck.
VERDICT: Fun, safe space to learn, connect and have fun.
An ideal social network for families, GeckoLife has been designed with kids' safety and privacy in mind. Parents create accounts and receive notification of their kids' activities - which can include approving posts and follows, depending on how the account is set up.
The app is organised into “canvases,” each with its own privacy setting. This allows parents to customise exactly who can see a canvas, which can include pictures, posts, and comments. Videos can’t be shared on GeckoLife.
VERDICT: A great introduction to social media for kids that allows parents to model and teach responsible habits.
Designed for girls 7 - 15, Girl2Girl invites users to chat about “boys, makeup, friends, crushes, cliques, bullying, celebs” and also to join interest groups (writers, animal lovers, nutrition, etc) and find penpals. But what really sets this platform apart is that ALL user-generated material is screened by real-life (that is, human) moderators to ensure content is bully-free and age-appropriate.
The app itself is free but there are pop-ups, links to other social media, quizzes and product surveys that may pose a risk to children’s privacy.
VERDICT: Bully-free starter social networking for girls. Be careful for younger users.