I was lucky enough to interview 13 years old Zach Marks, Grom Social inventor. The concept of the site started when he was only 11 years old, after he was kicked off Facebook twice by his parents for inappropriate language and friending adults he didn’t know well. Grom Social provides a safe, positive, encouraging atmosphere for kids ages 5-16 to connect with their peers.
Q Why “Grom” is it an acronym? A. No, my brother Luke is a keen and talented surfer and he was the first investor in my website, Grom is an Australian term for young surfer.
Q I see your mum is a personal trainer. Don’t you think it would be better for kids to be surfing the sea rather than the internet? A I think you can do both.We have a whole section about health and fitness. The site supports healthy living and speaks out against drugs, smoking and bullying.
Q I appreciate you are the founder but you now have adults on your board of directors do you still get heard? A Yes I am the creative one with the help of my siblings we are the ones in touch with kids.
Q There is a section on your site about being bullied, is this because you have been bullied? A. No but my sister has so I have had first-hand experience on how upsetting it is. We have teachers and school partnership helping children to deal with bullying. Plus Singer/Songwriter Kendall Schmidt from Nickelodeon’s “Big Time Rush” is also lending his support to champion the site’s anti-bullying message
Q How is Grom Social safer than other site A. Parents have to sign up with a child and they are sent friend requests and regular reports. “Grom Helpers,” monitor the site 24/7
Q A really parent question for you now Zach –You are travelling far and wide to promote Grom how come you are not at school. A I do 4 hours a day as I’m home schooled. With a computer I can go to school anywhere!
Zach Marks is from Melbourne Beach, Florida. After being banned from Facebook by his father for the second time, Zach asked his mother if it would be alright if he made his own “safe” site for his friends and siblings to use. Four months later when he presented the creation to his father for the first time, he was so impressed by the level of sophistication Zach had produced that the family pitched in financially to raise awareness of Grom Social.