Today’s kids are incredibly tech-savvy. While your childhood memories probably include a precious teddy bear you named Muzzy McFuzzy and fun times rolling in the dirt with your friends, children of the iGeneration enjoy gadgets and they engage with the world in a different way. Of course, technology doesn’t exclude outdoor activities for the kids but it does shape the way they communicate.
Despite the common assumption that digital devices are “asocial“ and that they support alienation, the data gathered in the Global Kids Study shows different results: kids use technology to strengthen their existing relationships and build new ones in the virtual world. This way of communication does not substitute the need for real life face-to-face contact but it enriches the bonding process. The iGeneration spends an average of three hours per day online, with watching videos and visiting social networks as the top two favorite activities. This is where the parents start to fear for their children’s safety in the digital world.
According to the PewResearchCenter, around 72% of the parents are particularly worried about strangers their child might interact with online. This is why the trend of monitoring kids’ online presence is gaining momentum: parents take precaution by helping their children set privacy settings on social media profiles and they encourage them to be careful about what they post online.
However, parents are aware that being virtually present is one of the ways a child builds a sense of belonging and connects to peers: this is why 76% of the parents admitted helping their 12-year-old gain access to Facebook even though it is a direct violation of the user minimum age limit, set at 13 years old. Most of the social networks and sites have stated this age limit in their Terms of Service agreements. By doing so, they don’t have to deal with the legal responsibility for not respecting the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) that conditions them to handle children’s data appropriately.
Cyber-bullying, stalkers, as well as predatory marketing practices and missuses of children’s private data are serious issues that must not be ignored. Despite all of this, kids want to continue socializing in the virtual world.
Luckily, at Jet Networks, Inc. – they offered a solution: in September 2016, they’ve introduced Jet.Me, the world’s first chat platform specifically designed for kids under 13.
Safe Messaging and Sharing in One Place
Jet.Me is an app created especially for children 8-12 years old that combines the two most favorite things we all love when communicating: sharing media and chatting with others. So, what makes Jet.Me so different from other social platforms? There are several things:
- Jet.Me complies to COPPA: child’s sign-up must be previously approved by a parent via the companion app called Jet Parent.
- Better privacy and protected profiles: user’s real name is not public and only approved friends can see posts.
- Protected search: to add a friend at Jet.Me, you must type the exact username of the person as there are no auto-populated searches.
- All data is secured: no users (other than approved friends) can see your posts and your profile picture is not displayed publicly.
- An option of ad-free Stream: user can enjoy connecting to others without being bothered by irrelevant content.
- Simplified privacy settings: higher control of the content user wants to share.
With high safety precautions, Jet.Me provides a perfect way of communication with real friends and excludes the possibility of unknown people contacting your child. Kids will be more relaxed when sharing their posts as the app provides a virtual ambient similar to the real life confidential conversations they have with their closest friends. In addition to that, the number of likes can be seen only by the poster (not other friends) so there is no psychological pressure and the experience is more carefree. Jenny Mirken, founder and CEO of Jet.Me states:
Security is our number one priority. We’re doing more than anyone has ever done and we will keep getting better at it.
The app’s exclusivity is what makes the whole experience much more personal. It’s more than just exchanging likes and comments: it’s about bonding through real-time videos, stickers, emoticons, photos, and words. The design is fun and appealing to the eye, which makes it even more kid-friendly.
On our end, as a company that aims to educate its community members about issues of online security and protecting your online legacy, we are incredibly proud that a company such as this one chose .ME domain for it’s online home.
Supervision with Jet Parent
If you’re a parent, you must have had thousands of talks with your child about online safety and still you felt restless about whether or not your child is protected in the virtual world. The Jet.Me app solved this issue by providing the parents full control. It has a tandem app called Jet Parent and this is what makes it severely different from other chat platforms.
Parents (or guardians) need to install Jet Parent app in order to permit their under 13-year-old child to use the Jet app. This is what the approval process looks like:
- Jet app requires a birthday from your child when he signs up.
- The app then requires an email address from the parent (or guardian).
- Parent (or guardian) receives an approval email with a unique access code.
- Parent (or guardian) downloads the Jet Parent app and enters the code.
- Your account is locked with your child’s account.
- Your child gets access to Jet and you automatically become his first friend.
- You are free to set permissions and exchange messages and media with your child.
This kind of system ensures parents supervise the child’s online presence. It also has a feature of managing multiple accounts so it can be a safe place for all of your kids. This is surely comforting to hear and you also have an ability to control and regulate your child’s friend’s list and report any inappropriate content.
Opportunity for the Brands
“Since Jet.Me is a messaging app, we wanted a .ME extension that would turn our brand into a verb — ‘Jet Me!’ has in fact become the rallying cry of our users in lieu of ‘text me!’ Since we serve a U13 audience that loves to go online, having a memorable URL that re-enforces that call to action, and vice versa, helps facilitate recall and engagement.”Jenny Mirken, founder and CEO of Jet
The Jet.Me app keeps your child safe from predatory marketing and aggressive advertising. There will be a special feature that will enable kids to follow their favorite brands, causes, and celebrities. Brands have an opportunity to engage with children via the platform but they need to create verified accounts. These are similar to regular profiles and they get authenticated by Jet.Me. After this first-step screening, brands can reach out to children as potential consumers but it’s important to underline that parents have full control here: they can decline or approve a friend request of this kind.
According to a report by Digitas, today’s kids and teens have a buying power of $1.2 trillion per year. Therefore, the Jet.me platform hides great business potential but there is a huge difference in the brand-consumer relationship in comparison to the one we’re used to: the consumer has to give its consent. It shifts this conversation into a more personal sphere where the ball is at the consumers’ court as they control the messages they’ll be exposed to. Given the fact that children are considered to be a vulnerable buying group and are typically harder to reach, businesses can work harder to win their trust and find their way within the Jet.Me app, in this new division of power and control.
Current Position and Future Plans
Jet.Me app is fresh on the market with a 4+ rating. However, there is not a relevant number of customer reviews yet in order to see how people react to it. For now, it is available only for iOS users (requires iOS9 and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch) but there are plans to raise funds and broaden the startup team and develop the Android app and the web-based one. The Jet.Me team has already launched the new 2.5 version with some general bugs fixed and improved performance.
The Jet.Me for kids is absolutely free, while the Jet Parent is charged $0.99. However, it is not a question of revenue but a “verification mechanism that helps to stay COPPA-compliant“, the CEO Jenny Mirken pointed out. Parents using their credit cards is the only way to ensure the platform is not being misused by someone else. This way of controlling is necessary so to keep the platform a safe virtual environment. In addition to that, Jet.Me is ESRB privacy certified member in good standing.
Our beloved youngsters will not stop using technology and we need to adapt. Try Jet.Me and offer your kids to be who they are virtually: you won’t have to worry about online dangers as with the companion app, Jet Parent – everything is under your supervision.