Florida Boy Develops Grom Social After Parents Ban Him from Facebook

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By Vittorio Hernandez | January 7, 2013 9:36 AM EST

Mark Zuckerberg should better watch out. His potential successors are getting younger. One such chap even shares with him the same initials - ZM - which stands for Zachary Marks.

The boy, now 12, helped design a social media site named Grom Social for children. Designing a site was his response after his parents banned him from using Facebook which has a minimum age requirement of 13 to sign up.

A year earlier, Zachary opened an account in the most popular social networking site, Facebook, despite being only 11, for the purpose of playing FB games.

"I spent all my time on the computer chatting with friends. Then, I made mistakes . . . One of my adult friends cursed and posted something inappropriate, and I cursed back. Also, I friend-requested grownups who I did not know. About a day later, my dad found out. He was really mad. I had to deactivate my account," Zachary wrote on the Grom Social About page.

However, his parents left a window open for Zachary and his five siblings who instead developed Grom Social as an alternative site for kid. Zachary and his brothers and sisters developed the creative aspect of Grom Social while his parents, Darren and Sarah Marks, made sure that the site followed the safety prerequisites mandated by the Federal Trade Commission's Children Online Privacy Protection Act.

The parents and some investors also spent a lot to develop Grom Socials, which was given an A for privacy and security by the Electronic Trust Foundation. The Marks rolled out Grom Social three months ago and it now has at least 2,000 unique visitors a day.

According to Tech News Daily, the Web site now has about 7,000 members. The site is open to residents of the United States and Canada below 15 years old. However, adults are allowed to join if there are parents or their parents have approved their joining Grom Social.

Besides games, Grom Social also offers a chat room. Here is a tutorial on how to use the site's chat room.

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