Facebook With Training Wheels?
The internet has forever changed how our children communicate with each other, share ideas, play games and watch video content. As much as we love our internet, there are many potential dangers lurking around every website and with every click of the mouse. How can school-aged kids experience the fun of the internet with the safety parents and teachers demand?
The better browser
What safer way to surf the internet than with a browser just for kids? The KidZui browser is free to download and frees parents from having to constantly monitor their child’s internet activity. KidZui has an advisory board of parents and teachers, which has reviewed and approved millions of kid-friendly websites, YouTube videos and online games. They add hundreds of new sites and videos each month to stay current and engaging for kids. By being free to access anything on the entire KidZui browser, kids feel independent while on the web — and parents feel safer.
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In August 2011, KidZui launched Zui.com — a content aggregator aimed at kids from 3 to 14 years old. Within this site, kids have access to millions of parent-approved websites, YouTube videos, games, images and more.
Zui.com launched a slew of new feature upgrades in April 2012, many of which mirror popular features of Facebook. Many parents and kids are at odds over joining Facebook, which requires users to be at least 13 years old. The new Zui.com features offer a Facebook-like experience for the kids, with the safety parents want. Recent upgrades include a personal profile page with kid-created avatars, friending capability and an inbox. Kids have new social sharing capabilities both within the site and externally, the ability to “like,” “vote” and “favorite” content and tons of new games. Response from kids to the social connection aspects and the ability to share content with friends has been overwhelmingly positive.
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Unlike sites run by large media companies such as Disney or Nickelodeon, Zui.com works with many different companies to provide a wide variety of content choices — not just reruns of television shows or ads for a specific company’s products.
What’s the Buzz?
Buzz is the KidZui video series with young hosts covering hot topics and trends for kids. “What Zui.com is providing in terms of a video alternative to the disturbing results kids can unintentionally see on YouTube is one my favorite services we provide for kids and families,” says Zui.com executive Joy Houston, a mother who felt she spent half her time policing what her kids were watching on the internet. She has worked side by side with kids, researching what kids want for content and sharing.
“The idea that they can tweet the Zui team a question or answer and have their responses integrated here [on Buzz] gives them a voice in the online space that they can enjoy with no threat of being grounded or landing some other punishment for engaging with platforms that expose them to more than their parents are comfortable with,” says Houston.
By continuing to listen to what kids want in an online social experience and integrating it into the site, Zui.com will remain on the cutting edge of online experience for school-aged kids — with safety measures that parents can feel confident about.
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