It’s one thing to create a kids’ video site that is totally safe and free from cyberbullying; it’s another to create one that has compelling content where pre teens actually want to go. This week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Greg Alkalay, the CEO of batteryPOP, a site which launched late last year and has set out to do just that.
Consider the prime alternative. Online video is hot, and YouTube acts like an irresistible magnet for kids. While YouTube was not specifically created for kids, parents’ reaction varies. Some ignore the risks, and others, though in smaller numbers, try to limit kids’ access.
With YouTube, the risks for young kids are numerous. Not only are there countless adult-oriented videos on the site, but the comments section under many videos frequently are a host to cyberbullying, harassment and extremely coarse adult language. In the worst case scenario, if your child has connected his YouTube account to his Gmail account, he could be opening himself up to some real life creepers.
BatteryPOP should serve as a welcome alternative for parents.
In terms of creating a site with content that kids are truly interested in, battery POP is definitely on the right track. The site is targeted at the 6 – 11 year-old demographic, and I can tell you that I introduced my 7-year-old daughter to it this week and she was quite happy and engaged.
CEO Alkalay is coming off a 12-year stint as a content pro at Nickelodeon, and made the move to start batteryPOP after coming to the undeniable conclusion that TV is losing young viewers to the web, but a truly kid-safe video platform was lacking. In Alkalay’s words, the challenge was to “Only put up kid-friendly content.”
The site’s video content is 100% sourced from professional child video creators, and includes cartoons, kids’ music videos, blogs for kids, and kid-friendly video game walkthroughs. Before content is selected, it is reviewed start to finish by the battryPOP team before being posted to the site. The problems of kids, either mistakenly or on purpose watching adult content is solved from the get go.
In terms of privacy and protecting kids from cyberbullying and the like, BatteryPOP’s child safety features are among the best that we’ve seen:
- No real names or profile pictures are used – each child picks a screen name, which is a combination of an adjective and a noun, and an avatar
- The child’s email address and birth date are not collected
- Kids can upvote or share videos, but cannot comment on them as a defense against cyberbullying
- Users can follow other users and become “friends”, but they can’t message each other
According to Alkalay’s partner Taso Mastorakis, “batteryPOP is an online entertainment destination everyone in the family can feel good about.” It does a good job of that in our opinion.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.