A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Kids can learn to interact in an online social-networking environment. They'll share favorite media, add friends (with parental guidance), and read articles about popular subjects. They also can learn new hands-on skills by following the site's DIY project tutorials; they include some fun cooking and gardening opportunities that the whole family could work on together. Although it contains some mildly questionable content and its learning potential is limited, the Grom Social site can work as a starter social network.
Grom Social provides a safe environment for kids to explore the world of social networking.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Female avatars are more sexualized than males. In the Exercise video section, the "10 and Over Girls" link sends you to a YouTube video that promises "Super fast at-home abs workout to flatten and tighten your stomach for a sexy look."
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Products & Purchases
Brief, unrelated ads appear before games.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Grom Social is a social network geared toward kids age 5-16. An automatic filter prevents any cursing on the site, and kids can't sign up without a parent's approval. Kids will create a cartoon avatar for themselves, and their real names don't appear on the site. If your kid is desperate to be on a social network, Grom Social is safe, but it has some weird quirks you should keep in mind. Female avatars are unnecessarily sexualized, and links aren't always appropriate. As a parent, you'll have access to their account (and even have to approve each friend they add), so you'll be able to monitor all their activities. To approve your kid's participation on the site, you sign an online document, but they also want your mailing address, which is a little weird.
Is It Any Good?
The design is pretty in-your-face and almost too colorful. Kids probably won't bat an eye, but its appearance is pretty unappealing to adults. It's marketed as being for kids age 5-15, but it's difficult to imagine any good reasons for a 5-year-old to frequent a social network, no matter how many activities are available there.
The site is a family's pet project, and it's apparent. Lots of content is by founder Zach Marks, who is now 13 years old. Though his contributions are fine, more contributors would round out the site. There's a nice selection of DIY-themed videos, which teach you things like how to make your own greenhouse or build a skateboard, but they're difficult to find. There's only one parent comment, which is anonymous; some feedback from other sources would make the site feel more legitimate.
The cartoon images of both a female child and a midriff-baring mom are more sexualized than one might expect, and the link to a "sexy abs" video, which appears when you click "Exercise for Girls 10 and Up", is inexcusable. This kind of ignorance holds back Grom Social.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.