Zach Marks, 12, of Melbourne, invented GromSocial, a Facebook-like social media site for kids. The site offers a free, parent-monitored social networking alternative for children 16 and younger. Like other social media sites, it allows users to create a profile, chat, post photos and videos, and play games. But unlike sites like Facebook or Instagram, GromSocial.com also offers kid-friendly safety tips, tutoring help, anti-bullying and anti-drug/smoking messages, and breaking news and video on health and fitness, gaming, sports and entertainment. Monitored by a network of adult volunteers around the clock, GromSocial.com requires parents or guardians to approve every friend their children communicate with, and regular "report cards" are emailed to parents detailing whom their kids interacted with and what subjects were discussed. No cursing is permitted. Marks said he came up with the idea after getting in trouble for starting up a Facebook account before reaching the required age of 13.
Mark Randall / Sun Sentinel
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