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'Facebook' for seven year olds is launched

Former police sergeant makes a safe social media for children

Posted by Hannah Vickers | January 19, 2017 | Technology

The age limit on using sites like Facebook may be 13 but that does not stop four out of five primary school kids admitting to using social media at least once a day. Determined to give parents and teachers the tools to deal with this growing trend, former police sergeant and e-safety guru, Henry Platten took matters into his own hands, developing a safe social media platform that young children can use.

GoBubble from eCadets puts an end to unwanted friend requests, dubious content and the potential for cyber-bullying. It allows children to take advantage of the best bits of social media without any of the negative aspects. With GoBubble, children can chat online with school friends, share jokes, pictures or videos and learn about different cultures by making new friends of the same age from around the world.

“We need to accept that our kids love social media and will use it no matter what the age limit is, so my view is, don’t ban them, just provide them with a safe alternative that has all of the up sides but none of the down sides,” says Henry Platten founder of the multi-award winning eCadets pupil-led online safety education programme. “GoBubble is that safe alternative.”

GoBubble is safe because it puts the child’s school at the centre of their social media network. The school signs its pupils up, with parental approval, and children can safely talk to children in their own class, school, or even with children the same age in schools around the world. 

All posts are automatically moderated through the system’s safety features, ensuring any inappropriate video, images, text, audio or emojis, are removed before going live. There’s also an award-winning live moderation team who review any flagged messages. And it has been awarded a PEGI 3 rating – the safest age rating available from the governing body (Pan European Gaming Information).

Young people use social media to talk to each other and it's really important they're able to do so in a safe environment - Ian Hopkins, Chief Constable, Greater Manchester Police

Chief Constable, Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins; who is also the national police lead for social media and digital engagement, headline partners in GoBubble, said: "Young people use social media to talk to each other and it's really important they're able to do so in a safe environment.  As a social network, GoBubble is just that, a bubble where children are given all the fun of social media, in complete safety. We look forward to using it to support our education work with under 13s."

Schools are already using the platform to help children collaborate on school projects, learn about new cultures, develop pen pals, teach children about safe social media use, and send parents messages via the site.

The web and app version of GoBubble is available free to schools. Outside of school, parents and children can access GoBubble via the web for free or have the option of downloading the app onto their tablet, laptop or mobile device for £3 per year. 

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