The 5 Best Social Media Apps for Kids

baby and computer

“Wait,” I hear you thinking. “Social media apps for children? I don’t want my kid on social media.” Neither do I, and yet we know they’ll try it out sooner or later.

Five million kids under age 10 already have Facebook accounts. (In case of “social media emergency,” click here.) This is sort of like having “the talk.” You want to get to it before they hear about the birds and the bees from some kid on the bus.

Enter social media apps for children. These apps can help parents guide young social media buffs in the ways of online communication. Parents provide them a safe, supervised environment and set clear ground rules about what’s okay to share, and what isn’t. Real names, street address (or even town), and school should all be off-limits, of course. That’s where these apps excel: they’re designed for children and parents, with teaching in mind.

It would be irresponsible to hand your child car keys before they’ve taken driving lessons, right? Same goes for social media. Train them up right! Empowering your child to participate in social networking might even help you to keep them safe.

Age ratings on the apps below come from Common Sense Media.

Edmodo

edmodoAges not specified in Edmodo’s terms of service

Platforms: mobile site, iOS, Android

Price: Free

Pretty much the safest place to start, Edmodo is a secure social learning platform for school districts. Teachers provide students with access codes, so they can access Edmodo to collaborate on academic projects.

Disney Club Penguin

club-penguinAges 7 and up

Platforms: iOS

Price: Free

Anything Disney is family friendly, and Club Penguin is no exception. A virtual world with games, chat functionality, and Parental controls include time limits for app use and “safe chat” mode in which children select from preformatted messages instead of freely typing. There are rules of conduct, although some parents report inappropriate language used if the “free chat” option is used.

Everloop: Goobit 

everloop-goobitAges 10 and up, 8 to 15 according to Everloop’s Terms of Use

Parent Accounts enabled

Platforms: iOS

Price: Free

A social network for kids, Goobit is not an educational app, so if you’re looking for educational content (in the academic sense), look elsewhere. That said, there are rules for proper conduct, and a robust privacy policy for kids.

 Instagram

instagramAges 13 and up (and Instagram’s terms of service)

No Parent Accounts, No Moderation

Platforms: iOS and Android

Price: Free

You know this is one of my favorites! That said, Instagram’s terms of service restrict the app’s use to people 13 and up (not that the restriction actually works). If you choose to let your child use Instagram, supervise their use carefully, and review the accounts they follow, ideally family and friends only. People frequently use profanity and post images that are inappropriate for children.

On the positive side, Instagram can provide an excellent outlet for a child’s artistic drive. When I have let my children take a picture for Instagram, their perspective is always fascinating, even if the focus is a teensy bit fuzzy.

Fanlala

fanlalaAges 13 and up, no age specified in Fanlala’s terms of service.

Platforms: iOS

Pandora type app / streaming music player. Profanity free, family friendly.

Friend sharing and community functionality, so children can create stations and share them.

Bonus: Giant hello. http://www.gianthello.com (Actually a gaming site for kids, but with social elements) Can access using a mobile phone, though it’s not optimized. They’re currently working on an iPhone app.

Now that you’ve unleashed your kids onto the Internet, here’s a post about apps that can help you keep children safe online. And you might want to brush up on your lingo.

BFN.

Kerry O’Shea Gorgone teaches New Media Marketing at Full Sail University. She is also hosts the weekly Marketing Smarts podcast for MarketingProfs. Find Kerry on Google+ and Twitter.

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  • As a father of 4, I have this very helpful. Thank you!

  • Kerry O’Shea Gorgone

    Glad to hear it, Edwin! Thanks for your comment.

  • This actually warms my heart and I don’t even have kids yet. Although, I have two little brothers! One of whom uses Instagram. I followed him to see what he’s up to and felt like I was stalking the poor kid. Lucky for him he never posts any images, so his big sis can’t see what trouble he’s into. -o

  • Christine Webber

    This is extremely useful and so needed. As a concerned grandparent this is really reassuring. Your analogy about giving our kids the keys to a car before ensuring they are taught how to use it safely is such a good one.
    Chrissie

  • Alli Polin

    My daughter’s child introduced Edmodo but she stopped using it to drive discussion on classroom learning and now it’s like Facebook for 4th and 5th graders. Also, since I signed my daughter up, I get all of the notifications. I’m a little shocked at some of the posts and that some of the kids are accessing it to “share” late at night. I mentioned it to the teacher and apparently she turned notifications off and has no idea what’s going on in there. I think it can be an exceptional tool when it’s teacher directed to dive deeper into learning and not become a kid’s chatroom.

  • Kerry O’Shea Gorgone

    Absolutely, Alli, the teacher needs to be engaged or the experience won’t work to its fullest potential. Kids need to learn how to “walk” in the online world, and adult supervision is required to ensure an enriching, beneficial experience.

  • Kerry O’Shea Gorgone

    Thanks, Christine! I appreciate your comment. The important thing is that children understand how to stay safe online, and develop the habits that will keep them secure even if their parents aren’t looking.

  • Kerry O’Shea Gorgone

    Love it, Tiana! Kids have such a fun perspective, but I don’t follow any minors (knowingly) unless their parents are friends of mine and we all know each other. Somehow, following a random teenagers Instagram feed would feel weird to me, even though it’s public.

  • I wouldn’t recommend following any kids, besides it being completely creepy they don’t post anything relatable. My brother posted funny little things that I enjoyed, but only becasue he’s my little brother.

  • Hey Guys!
    Check out some of the best Social Apps for iPhone,iPad & Android here- http://www.apps-catalog.com/products/social-apps

  • My daughters used Edmodo on a class trip to China last year. The teacher set up an account for the parents and we could all see daily posts of the kids as they visited the Great Wall, Olympic Village, Terra Cotta Warriors, Forbidden City and other amazing sites in China. It also served to reassure parents that their kids were doing well half a world away.

    What, me worry? 😉

  • Nino Pacino

    I have a awesome wonderful idea that will chance kids social networking FOREVER

  • Robin Green

    Trying to find a social app for an 8 yr old that is for both Kindle and Android. I am not having any luck!!

  • Hey ! i have also an interesting idea for kids they will love the voice blogging feature of bubbly.

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