Brevard County boy designs kid-friendly social media site

By Mike Holfeld, Problem Solver, mholfeld@clickorlando.com
Published On: Feb 11 2013 11:06:18 PM EST
Updated On: Mar 11 2013 02:27:41 PM EDT

A 12-year-old from Brevard County is grabbing national attention with a kids-only social media site that his whole family helps produce.

ORLANDO, Fla. -

A 12-year-old from Brevard County is grabbing national attention with a kids-only social media site that his whole family helps produce.

Zachary Marks has created a secure, kids-only, site on the worldwide web he calls GromSocial.com

“A Grom is a young up and coming athlete or musician or gamer,” Marks says, “And we figured a Grom is under the age of 16 and that’s what we allow on there.”

The Brevard County boy was only 11 years old when he got caught talking to older people by a family friend on Facebook.

So his parents, Sarah and Darren, issued a challenge: No more Facebook but develop a social site for kids under 16.

Sarah Marks said she didn’t think her son would ever make it work, but she was wrong.

The site took off quickly with 5,000 kids joining in the first two months. A year later there are more than 17,000 Groms have joined from Orlando to California.

Zachary has recruited his brothers and sisters to provide the GromSocial stuff.
10-year-old Caroline, aka Ashley, handles music and entertainment.

“I really like it, It’s really cool knowing it’s our site," she said.

Darren Marks says security is a priority. The conversations are monitored 7 days a week 24/7.

Darren Marks says every kid must have written approval from a parent. Both child and parent must provide name, birthday, and email.

Area school districts have been interested in the site as well because not only does it provide protection from potential predators but it keeps bullies out too.

Zach’s home school teacher, Jennifer Domulat, says the site encourages creativity.

“The website itself is a really dynamic platform for kids to not only connect, communicate and express themselves, but have a good time.”

Does Zach see his site as a money making venture?

He says no, “for now I just want to have fun with it.”

To join just go to GromSocial.com

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