Zach Marks of Melbourne Beach, Fla. launched Grom Social, a free social network for teenagers and preteens under age 17. His motivation? Getting kicked off Facebook — twice — for violating the age restriction. 12-year old Zach had a Facebook account for roughly a week despite being two years too young to join the site, having lied about his age to create an account.
When his parents discovered that he may have been engaging in risky online activities, they pulled the plug. At that point, he came up with a plan.
“I spent all my time on the computer chatting with friends. Then, I made mistakes,” Marks says on the Grom Social About page. “I had to deactivate my account.”
That’s when he decided to build a social network where he could set the rules. As of last month, Grom Social had nearly 7,000 members. Should the network continue taking off, it could pull younger users away from Facebook. Meanwhile, Grom Social or another kid-friendly social network may itself become a gold mine for toy companies and other youth-focused advertisers and marketers.