Gungroo, a company that claims to offer ‘safe web presence’ for kids, has announced the launch of its services in Alpha stage. The service is now open to any family that registers. Gungroo was founded in April, this year, by Dinker Charak, who was previously with Jivox. The company has raised funding of an undisclosed amount in an angel round and is looking at a Seed/Series A funding, in the near future.
In its present form, Gungroo is essentially a regulated social networking and messaging tool for kids. An adult family member can register for a family account with full name, username, first password and a second password.
The family member can then add up to three adult members by entering their email ids. To add members less than 16 years of age, the family member will have to select usernames and passwords for each. What’s interesting is that parents can allow kids to sign-in only when they (admin) have logged in, however, parents can also chose to allow kids to login without their consent.
Currently, Gungroo allows kids to communicate only within the family. However, Charak informed MediaNama that Gungroo plans to add Gmail integration within the portal by this month. Following the Gmail integration, parents will be able to attach their kid’s GMail account to Gungroo. The kid will be able to read her/his emails on Gungroo and reply from Gungroo without the need to logging into Gmail. The advantage of this process is that the parent has an opportunity to intercept unwanted messages, unknown users and spam messages. Gungroo also plans to add similar integration with Facebook in the near future, through plugins.
Charak says that he got the idea for Gungroo.com when kids in his extended family and social circle wanted to be the part of social networking sites. He estimates that it is a $160 million market opportunity considering that there are 16 million kids below the age of 15 (again an estimate). We’re not sure if kids will actually like the idea of being scrutinized by their parents and their messages being accessed.
He feels that integrating social networking sites in a safe environment with parents’ scrutiny will not put off kids from using Gungroo. “Facebook, Google Plus, Skout and other social destinations were not designed for users of ages 6-15 years in mind. The recent concern about privacy and safety highlight a need for a grounds-up for-kids social destination. And it has to be done in a way that it does not put off the kids,” he says.
Other safe web applications
While creating a social website to monitor kids activities might seem like a right answer for parents, they can also monitor what kids browse on the internet using safeweb on their iOS device and safeguard them from potential threats. There are several filters and special web browsers which also offer child safe web surfing.