myFirst, a Singapore-based kids-tech company, has announced the launch of myFirst Circle, a social media app for children. It was designed to provide a safe and protected environment for children to socialise with their parents able to moderate posts on the fly.
myFirst cites a poll by online market research firm Milieu Insight, which says that two-thirds of children aged seven to nine in Singapore use smartphones every day and are active on social media.
A balanced approach
Traditional social media networks can expose children to inappropriate content, social media scams, cyberbullying, and ill-intentioned strangers, whereas myFirst Circle requires children’s accounts to be linked to a parental account that approves and classifies new members who join their children’s social circles.
myFirst thinks that this balanced approach creates a safe space for children while giving them the freedom to socialise with friends. Children can create posts and share photos with their circle of friends within a safe environment without the need for parents to approve every post. At the same time, parents can monitor and make changes to their child’s activities instantly if found inappropriate.
myFirst Circle has replaced the “Like” system with their own “ShoutOut” system to encourage quality interactions among friends and family. Instead of receiving a simple “Like” on posts, users are encouraged to send 16-character text messages, an eight-second voice blurb or emoji reactions.
Expanding circle of relationships
Each child will be attached to a nuclear family, also known as a family bubble in the myFirst Circle app. Two nuclear families can easily exchange contacts for all members in their family bubbles in one step, simply by sending a request.
To ensure safety, children under 13 years of age need their parents to have an account. Parents will need to whitelist and approve the friend requests received by their children before they are added to the children’s social circle. Before accepting any friend requests, parents can check with their children personally to see if they are really friends or chat with the parents of the incoming friend if they have any additional concerns before approving the request.
Once the friend request is accepted, parents need to set the relationship they have with the person, with four groups of relationships available: Family, Besties, Friends, and Acquaintances. These groups create an expanding circle that defines the types of posts a person can see. If a post is just shared among Family members, only those tagged as Family will be able to see it. However, parents can change the post settings to be accessible to lesser groups or to expand the groups.
myFirst Circle can be downloaded from the App Store for Apple iOS devices or Google Play for Android devices, and can also be accessed through a myFirst Fone.