Everloop, the social network for kids ages 8-13, recently launched EverText, the first-ever 24/7 moderated SMS feature available on all mobile phones and major carriers.
Kids will now be able to use Everloop directly from their mobile phones by texting status updates to the network. Parents can moderate the number of texts a kid can use by selecting a monthly limit, ranging from unlimited to 250 texts per month. Everloop automatically sets the limit at 100. Once the child reaches their limit, parents will receive a note.
How do Everloop's Moderation Features Work?
The first moderation filter is technology-based, and filters out words, phrases and content deemed dangerous to kids, like URLs, someone's address, profanity, or any words that would condone negative, hateful behaviors, or reveal the location of one of the user. The second more interesting filter works on the level of patterns - if a pattern is detected, such as phrases or words that could seem like cyber-bullying, the user's account will be freezed, and then the human moderation element kicks in.
"If you think about kids today, they're all digital natives, they don't know any better, and the majority of parents are raising under 13 kids are digital natives themselves," Everloop's COO Tobin Trevarthen told us in an interview. "As we evolve into social space, we saw an easy opportunity to educate younger generation of digital natives."
Everloop was originally founded in 2010 by three moms who wanted a secure social network for their tweens. It was originally named GirlAmbition and targeted only at girls until the founders, who had sons, realized that boys needed a safe space, too. The name comes from the idea of "being ever in the loop."
The other social network for kids, Togetherville, does not offer an SMS feature. Targeted at kids under 10-years-old, this site serves as more of a space for parents to teach kids about online communication, community building and being a good digital citizen. Parents are far more involved in their kids' social networking on Togetherville than Everloop, which allows kids to go off on their own into the land of social networking.
Everloop and Togetherville both serve as sort of "training wheels" sites for the grown-up Facebook which, according to Trevarthen, is not a safe place for kids ages 13-and-under. "It gets sketchy when you're a child and Facebook is asking you to put your real name on there," Trevarthen says. "We have built the site for kids without parents in the site, really a kids site where kids are able to be kids in a safe, well-lit environment."
Launched in November 2010, Everloop went public in February 2011; approximately 40,000 kids use the site every month.