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Boy, 12, launches youth social networking site

Grom Social caters to kids and their protective parents.

By Britt Olson MSN Living Editor Jan 15, 2013 4:25PM

Boy geniuses and tech startups are common modern marketplace phenomena. The barons of our time may be the 20-year-old programmers who provide Internet services that the public embraces but never knew it wanted.

So, we should expect to see more young innovators offering their unique perspectives on online communications.

Zach Marks, a 12-year-old from Melbourne Beach, Fla., is the most recent, and perhaps the youngest, entrepreneur to enter the social networking market.

Photo: www.gromsocial.comAfter some convincing, Marks’ parents agreed to let him create a profile on Facebook. However, learning that Marks had conversed with adults online whom they didn’t know, they barred Marks from using this profile.

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Exiled from the online social sphere, Marks began his own network, one geared toward an under-18 audience that would also garner parental approval. Although originally created just for his friends and family, the Marks family has decided to release the site to the public.  

Grom Social requires parental permission for users to create profiles. To create a profile users must enter a parent's email address. The site sends parents “report cards” on their children’s site activity and interests.

Marks doesn't think parental involvement will deter kids from using the site. " I personally experienced what happens on social networking sites that are not safe for kids. I saw bad language and I was bullied. It was scary," Marks says. "With all the bad things happening in the world, kids want to know they are safe from bad people." 

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Users create a cartoonish avatar, a grom-atar, that they use on the brightly-colored, animated site to interact with “friends” and explore topics such as health, school, sports and entertainment. The site offers video game tips and help with school subjects for grades 1-10.

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"We're getting 25,000 plus visits a day. Our membership grows every hour and we're speaking with some of the biggest companies in the world about becoming involved with GromSocial," Marks states.

If it continues to catch on, Grom Social just may be an incubator for future Mark Zuckerbergs and Zach Markses.


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Photo: www.gromsocial.com

14Comments
Jan 15, 2013 9:11PM
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There's already a social network for preteens. It's called Facebook. This "12-year-old" is probably some fat old perv looking to score some underage ****
Jan 15, 2013 9:11PM
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you guys are being negative, but truth is... its really no different than facebook. kiddie prowlers are there too.... i've seen thousands upon thousands of children on facebook where they have lied about their birthdate to obtain an account, as well as on myspace when it was big.... really, the kids only aspect will never be true because there will always be people in society on social networking that will lie to obtain profiles, however those children that are using it properly whom have parents that do check up on them, will be able to use the tools as they were intended.... why not hate on facebook creators for kiddie prowlers and pedos bein present, wake up people! its 2013, they are EVERYWHERE! My child doesnt have to have a facebook to have someone prey after them, nowadays all we have to do is send them to school and there is a chance of that!!!!!
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