Facebook and other social media sites are very clear on their rules of when somebody can join their site. A child must be 13-years-old before they can start spamming their friends with requests for games and posting the latest Nicki Minaj video after hearing a rendition of it on Kidz Bop 28. What's a kid under the age of 13 to do until they reach the magical Facebook age? Social networking for kids, of course.
PixyKids, a social networking site for children aged 6 through 12 just announced that they have acquired $3 million in funding. The breakdown sees $2 million coming from ATA Ventures and $1 million from other "angel investors."
What may be the bigger news is that the fledgling social networking site for kids appointed former Googler and Glam Media exec Michael Adair as the company's COO. Kristen Alexander, who was previously director of various outlets at Disney Interactive, has joined on as VP of marketing.
So the question is what does social networking for kids look like. I can't speak for all of them, but PixyKids aspires to be more of a creative outlet for kids while doubling as a social network. The site allows kids to use apps to create custom content to share with others. As expected of a site for children, the options they have when sharing are extremely limited. This allows the parents to play an active role in the development of the child's social networking experience. Start them young to avoid the aforementioned Nicki Minaj scenario.
The site strikes a balance between a child's independence and the parent's need and desire to be a part of their growing up. Kids have all of the features of regular social networking sites like video chat, community wall, email and a personal URL. Parents are given a backdoor into the child's profile that is strictly limited to view only so they can observe, but not intrude on the child's independence.
"Parents are looking for sites they can feel good about, that help their kids develop socially, offer positive reinforcement, and are creatively enriching. Today's kids are aspirational, tech-savvy, and have self-expression in their DNA. Both kids and parents are demanding a digital platform where they can share their everyday personal experiences, express themselves creatively, and build the lasting bonds that are so critical in these formative years," said Rajul Kadakia, CEO and Co-Founder of PixyKids. “We are very excited to be developing a social platform featuring fresh and relevant interactivity for both kids and their families in a single environment that parents can trust. And, I’m equally thrilled to welcome Michael Adair, Neil Markey, and Kristen Alexander to our executive team and introduce our founding Advisory Board members, who together will bring their collaborative expertise as we build the PixyKids feature sets and user base.”
The site hasn't launched just yet as the main page just brings up a placeholder image with an invitation for parents to enter their email addresses. Interested parents can do so to be the first to know when the site launches.
I'm still a little concerned, especially with the promise of video chat. How are they going to protect children from people who could exploit the site to get to children at that age. Speaking to Betakit, CEO Rajul Kadakia said that they have multiple safeguards in place to prevent their children from accepting friend requests from strangers and other elements. These same things have been said of other services, but people still exploit them. We've already seen it happen in online games and on Facebook.
Do you like the idea of social networking for kids? Do you believe there to be safety concerns over such a service? Let us know in the comments.