KidZui, the kid-friendly web browser that debuted last March as a subscription service but switched over to a freemium model just a few months later, has introduced a suite of social networking features designed for kids aged 3-12.
There are obvious safety concerns when developing a product that helps kids communicate with others online, especially since it’s nearly impossible to ensure that their online buddies are indeed kids with benign intentions themselves. So, unlike Facebook – which lets its users share extensive personal details, write on each others’ walls, and send free-form messages – KidZui doesn’t enable explicit forms of communication at all.
Rather, KidZui’s social networking features mainly allow users to share their surfing behavior with friends passively. Each user has an event feed that shows when friends sign on and off, visit each others’ profiles, tag content on the web, create content channels, and friend each other. Users can also “ping” each other and post status messages, but they must be selected from a premade list of options.
The new version of KidZui contains a number of other improvements as well, including a new homepage with tabbed content and a “homework helper” that organizes school-related content for paying subscribers.
The company has also shared some statistics about its the growth and usage of its sole product. So far, 1.5 million objects (videos, pages, photos, etc) have been whitelisted and “hundreds of thousands” of kids and parents have started to use the service. KidZui’s conversion rate for website visitors has doubled since switching over to a freemium model in June. And the average user watches 80 videos per week – a much greater number than an average of 21 photos, which suggests that KidZui is starting youth off early for YouTube as well.