A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
What's it about?
GROM SOCIAL is a social-networking site geared toward kids who are too young for the Facebook terms of service. Founded by a 12-year-old with the help of family and friends, it is intended to connect kids. Kids can share status updates, pictures, and videos and then can like and comment on each other's content. They also can create an About page to share their interests. To expand their networks, kids can send friend requests and messages to each other. As of this review, the chat feature wasn't working; public messaging was all that was available. An avatar designer (Gromatar) lets kids design a profile picture if they would like. There's also a collection of games that includes some math games, as well as games that focus on cooking, arcades, puzzles, and so on. Some of the games seem to be designed by the Grom team and named after family members. Though parents have a lot of control over content and privacy, kids also have access to those controls.
Is it any good?
Despite the best of intentions for safety, this kids' social media app feels incomplete and full of flaws. Grom Social talks a good game about parent permissions, safety, and positivity, but there's little followthrough. The parent portal is a fantastic idea with the kind of granular controls many parents would love, but if kids can access those controls, what's the point? And then there's the irony of creating a "safe space" for kids and then filling it with advertising, especially ads that aren't even appropriate for kids. Even if that's not important to you, the user experience is shaky. The app crashes regularly, some features don't work, and there still isn't that much to do. Grom characters (largely made up of the family behind the app) do most of the talking, and not all of them seem to have a handle on what kids generally want to talk about. In some of the content, there's also some less-than-desirable messaging about girls, both in the virtual boyfriend chat game and the one about gym class. With better games, true privacy and parent control, and a more stable platform, this network could be a fun place for tweens to try their hands at social media.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about your social media rules about what should -- and shouldn't -- be shared online. How is Grom Social like other social media apps you've tried?
Talk about the benefits and drawbacks of safe social-networking sites for kids. How does this one stack up against others? When is a good time to start using the big sites like Facebook?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Subjects: Math: arithmetic
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, solving puzzles
Communication: friendship building
Tech Skills: social media
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free (premium accounts available, though "Gromatar" avatar designer might be only premium feature)
- Subscription price: $4.95/month with discounts for 6- or 12-month subscriptions.
- Release date: September 10, 2016
- Category: Social Networking
- Topics: Friendship
- Size: 14.70 MB
- Publisher: Grom Social, Inc.
- Version: 3.2.2
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later; Android 4.4 and up
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love social networking
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.