These days, parents are increasingly concerned with their children’s’ online social lives: what are they posting to their profiles on sites like MySpace? Are other members of these social networks sending inappropriate materials to their children? Are kids putting their privacy and security at risk?
Enter GenMobi, which today announced the creation of its Buzz Ideal Social Network, which will offer a number of features specifically designed to help children stay safe and keep parents informed about their online activities.
The Buzz Ideal Social Network is intended as a mobile service in which every user is identifies and validated: no anonymous access allowed. The Buzz network will carry youth-centered info on sports, games, music, and fashion designed to appeal to the 8 to 17 age group, and will sport a real-time translation feature which will enable kids to exchange messages with other children around the world. Moreover, the network will proactively identify both online predators and bullies, banning them from the network and, if warranted, report them to law enforcement. The service also parses every message before its sent, blocking offensive language, expressions, and terms, and enabling parents to receive transcripts of all communications so they know what’s going on.
(Of course, once kids figure out what expressions are banned, they’ll come up with new ones to describe the same things.)
In a statement, GenMobi founder and CEO Michael J. Schultz said: “We are creating a new paradigm. Any social network or community must be able to protect the privacy and security of its users. Besides the original technology that we developed and the value that we offer to our mobile operator partners, we are also committed to the children and youth of the world by giving 10% of all net revenues to children’s social causes.”
How do you sign up? What will it cost? How will it work? GenMobi doesn’t quite seem to be quite ready with all those details yet—stay tuned. Although we have no doubt the Buzz netowrk features will appeal to parents, it will be interesting to see whether the “Buzz” network’s gated-community approach will gain legitimate traction with today’s youth market, who are usually as eager establish their own independence and identities in the online world as they are in the real world. Sanitized social networks like Wal-Mart’s now-abandoned “Hub” don’t seem to last very long. But GenMobi does offer one at least one unique characteristic: it’s the only for-profit company endorsed by UNESCO.
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