Pre-Teen Starts Facebook Rival Grom Social For Kids

By Khurram Aziz email: | Dec 30, 2012 11:47 AM EST

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A 12-year-old from Florida, banned by his parents from Facebook, has created a kid-friendly rival called Grom Social.

Zach Marks, first launched the site three months ago, and today it has 6,800 members around the world, generating around 2,000 unique visitors a day and 6,000 or so page views.

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Zach's dad, a founder of an energy drink and food company based in South Florida, was quick to see the potential in his son's idea for a safe social networking site and had registered it as a company in March.

"It has just started to catch on," the 12-year-old's dad, Darren Marks, told USA Today. "It's amazing how this is all happening and taking off."

Grom Social puts an emphasis on issues facing kids including, bullying, anti-smoking and drug use. It is designed in compliance with the safety requirements established by the Federal Trade Commission's Children Online Privacy Protection Act and has also received an "A" rating from the Electronic Trust Foundation, an international organization that promotes privacy and security in the online community.

Zach, a young surfer, takes care of the creative side of the site, while his dad makes sure its meets all his exacting standards of safety for his children. That means putting in place filters to keep out inappropriate language and banning adults from joining unless they are friends or family. What's more, parents have to give permission for their kids to sign up and receive emails of all of their postings and correspondence on the site.

As things stand, Facebook doesn't allow members under the age of 13 to join the social network, so for those "tweens" that don't meet the bar, they have their own place at

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