Remember the kid at school who used to “fix” the classroom computers and at the same time give teachers the runaround? Yeah, me too. To some extent, I was that kid. The same scenario, of course, plays out everyday in many homes throughout the world as parents struggle to outpace or at least keep up with their children when it comes to digital technology.
Setting out to help solve this problem is Quib.ly, a new Q&A site launching today that invites parents to post questions on a range of technology and parenting-related topics to be answered by other parents and various domain “experts”, which the UK-based startup has been hard at work recruiting to Quib.ly’s community. These include people who design computer games that children play, e-safety experts, educators, as well as those more (and less) tech-savvy parents.
Questions posted fall into various preset categories such as apps, social media, mobile, the impact of technology on child behaviour, and online safety. It also claims to match questions to users based on interest, community approval ratings and relevance.
In addition, the site employs a “follower” model akin to Twitter or Q&A site Quora, while a real-name policy exists via Facebook signup to promote trust throughout the community, which I think might be a mistake. Parents may not feel entirely comfortable discussing issues related to their children’s internet use if they are easily identified, at least those asking the questions. (Update: Users can post questions and answers anonymously for use-cases just like this.)
Of course, there are a ton of existing parental forums, such as Mumsnet or Netmums, as well as more general Q&A sites. But Quib.ly founder Francesco Cardoletti notes that the former, though packed with useful information, can be “very noisy” and target mums only. In contrast, Quib.ly has the advantage of being even more vertically focused around specific Q&As and is open to mums and dads or anyone involved in the parenting process.
“Quib.ly is for mothers and fathers”, says Cardoletti. “[Our] early members reflect this gender split. A vital difference is also the unique blend of parents and professionals, sharing expertise, all using real names to encourage open and honest conversation”.
Expert contributors aren’t paid to answer questions, either. Instead, says Cardoletti, it’s a way for professionals to raise their profile and visibility. The usual draw cited by most Q&A sites.
“As with any other social network, parents who answer users’ questions on Quib.ly will benefit from increased social currency, gaining followers and meeting new people who have a shared interest in learning more from helping fellow parents,” he adds.
With funding from wealth management firm Altana Wealth, there’s no specific word on monetization, yet. “Currently we have sufficient backing from our investors to ensure that the focus for the business is to grow the community and ensure that the experience for our users is improved,” says Cardoletti.
In the longer term, however, he says that the company is looking at ways in which Quib.ly can work with brands to “add value to the community and deliver value back to the brands”.