Grom Social: Why An 11-Year-Old Built His Own Social Network

grom-social-logoAfter getting his Facebook account deactivated, 11-year-old Zach started searching for the next best option. He was looking for something that had similar functionality to Facebook but came up short. In fact, he didn’t find a good enough alternative so he decided to build his own social network, Grom Social.

How Grom Social Started

Below is the story of how Grom Social was born. Personally, I’m amazed at the website, it’s innovative design, avatars, and functionality. Colorful cartoons? A bad word filter? Adults can only join if they’re friends or family? This is the innovative stuff that Mark Zuckerberg would have done had he started Facebook when he was 11 years old. Zach has some help, of course, but the story is very interesting and Grom is worth checking out.

grom socialI am 11 years old, and one of six children. My brothers, sisters, close friends, and I created a social networking site for young kids and teens. It’s a place to chat, make new friends, learn interesting things, and play games. I started Grom Social in November of 2011. It has been hard work.

First, Grom Social took the place of the popular social networking site for me. My dad was never big on me joining the popular networking sites where  kids are exposed to adult content, but all my friends had accounts. He would always say that I was too young, or it was not safe. He worried because there was no way for him to see what I was doing or who I was talking to. Time went on, and I turned eleven. I asked my dad, ”Hey Dad! Can I create a social networking account?” He did not say anything. That night, my friend, Erika, told us that we can put a setting on the social networking site that would keep me private and safe. So, he said, ”Okay. Create an account.” I had it for about a week, and I was addicted. I spent all my time on the computer chatting with friends. Then, I made mistakes. One of my adult friends cursed and posted something inappropriate, and I cursed back. Also, I friend-requested grown ups who I did not know. About a day later, my dad found out. He was really mad. I had to deactivate my account. Then, I was really mad.

Next,  I began looking for a kid’s social network that was safe and cool. I did not find any that looked interesting to me. They were all childish. So, I began thinking. That night, the idea came to me.  I could create a social networking place for kids that was cool with sick graphics. I added a bad word filter and we do not allow adults to join unless they are friends or family. Adults need to be approved by the Grom Social member and the parent. The first thing it needed was a name.  I am a surfer. A grom is a young up and coming surfer in the community. A Grom is also a promising young individual, who is quick to learn. I hoped that I could befriend other kids using the name Grom Social.

Finally, I have been building my site since Nov. 2011. I spend lots of time drawing new graphics, researching new games, fun facts, cool kids books, cool videos, nutrition tips and highlighting the best young up and coming athletes. It is coming along well.  Kids seem to like my site, especially the Grom Helpers and the games. I am excited to watch it grow. I am proud of my efforts in making my idea a reality.

Key Features

Grom Social has some features that I’d love to see in more social networks *cough* Facebook *cough*. Below are some of the standouts that are worth knowing about.

- There’s a bad word filter that keeps out all the swear words and other unnecessary words we all could stand to see less of online.

- You can chat, share photos, share events, and join groups about specific youth-friendly topics. For example, there’s a celebrity section where you can rest assured there won’t be images of scantily clad models / celebrities. There’s a gaming forum where they discuss topics like iCarly apps and other related games.

- There’s already an app! Avaialble for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry, you can access your profile and stream right from your smartphone.

- You can add third-party apps like Twitter to your profile now, letting you integrate with the profiles you already have out in the world.

- There’s a no bullying policy and a youth privacy policy. I don’t often see a ‘youth’ privacy policy specifically titled as such and it’s worth reading!

- There’s a lot going on in the Grom site. See the image below for just a dashboard of some of the features on the site.