Brunel University student launches secure social network for kids
Social networking is incredibly popular amongst teens, however, the majority of social networks don't allow under -14s to join due to the vulnerability of the age group. Up until now, there haven't been any safe alternatives for them to use, regardless of the fact that the demand is there.
As a result, young people inevitably end up lying about their age in order to join a network. This has associated problems as they are exposed to inappropriate adult content as well as to older people who can easily able to access their profile. JellySnap aims to fill this gap in the market by providing a safe and secure online environment where children can socialise with their friends.
Currently a Beta version, the site's main features include collaborative 'snapbooks' that allow friends to share photographs with each other, 'comments' that let users comment on their friends' Snapbook pages and photos, and 'messages' enabling friends to keep in touch with each other. The site specifically steers away from the profile nature of popular social networking sites to re-enforce the sense of communal sharing and socialising in one place.
User and data security was David's absolute priority during the site's design process. JellySnap uses a walled garden approach to ensure site security. This means that a user can only see data that belongs to them or their friends - no one else can access it. Unlike popular social networks, in order to become friends with someone on JellySnap, users need to know that person's email address. This helps to ensure that users are just linking up with their friends rather than strangers.
David, 22 from Harrogate, says, “The reason children are at risk is because they are not being properly catered for. JellySnap acts as a safer alternative for the younger tech savvy generation and for those children who want to socialise safely online.“
Dr Emmanuel Tsekleves, Lecturer of Multimedia Technology and Design at Brunel University comments, “David has identified a gap in the market and designed a website that will provide children with a social network that is suitable to their needs. Parents should feel safer knowing that their children are actually networking with their friends rather than strangers.“