I've found navigating the world of social media with kids is, shall we say, tricky at best. There are the good parts — the best of social media that encourages creativity, allows for connections, and inspires the occasional belly laugh.
The worst? Well, we all know what the worst is.
So how can we help our kids start on the path to a healthy relationship with social media?
That has felt like a losing battle to me — until I discovered Zigazoo.
Zigazoo seems to have created the unicorn of social media for our kids. They've developed a safe and positive community where kids ages 3 to 13 can create short-form videos (max. length: 30 seconds) and form healthy online relationships, and I don't have to worry about what they're giggling at in the other room.
It's a TikTok-style of video-sharing, but offers prompts to kids to inspire videos. Recent prompts include things like:
- What's your favorite riddle?
- Can you teach us how to play your favorite sport or physical activity?
- What should all kids have a right to?
Zigazoo was started by parents experiencing the same tug and pull of social media we all do. Zak and Leah Ringelstein, parents of three young kids and former teachers, created the app in the early days of the pandemic when, like all of us, they were struggling with finding great content for their kids online.
Macaroni KID Publisher Susan Troy and her daughter tried Zigazoo. See Susan's review!
In just two years, they've turned Zigazoo into a top-5 kids app for ages 9 to 11 on the Apple App Store with a 4.7 rating. Zigazoo is also KidSAFE COPPA Certified, and was just selected by the American Library Association’s Notable Children’s Digital Media List, along with heavy hitters like Duo Lingo, Google, and iNaturalist.
That kind of recognition makes me feel good about letting my kids use Zigazoo.
I've been watching over their shoulder and here are four things that make this app a standout:
1. There are real people behind the scenes
An actual real-life person moderates every single video posted to Zigazoo to make sure there's no inappropriate content, negativity or personal identifiable information. Yep. That's right. There is no high-tech wizardry happening here: A real person is watching every video to make sure it meets Zigazoo's standards.
2. Safety is first
An adult (me) is required to sign up my child for Zigazoo. During that process, you also create a video with your child to verify your account before your child can get started. There is no random creation of accounts. I also must approve any accounts my children follow.
3. Only positive communication is allowed
There's no messaging feature where harmful comments or unsafe information could potentially be shared (can we add that option to adult social media channels, please?). Instead, Zigazoo offers communication through positive-only stickers. This encourages positive communications and exchanges on the app. Kids can even give each other "shoutouts" to compliment each other and share positivity and love for each other’s videos by awarding videos with fun "gifts." My kids love this feature!
4. Zigazoo 'sneaks in' learning
Zigazoo isn't one of those apps where you can spend hours scrolling videos mindlessly (ahem, we're looking at you, TikTok!). The prompts Zigazoo gives for video creation encourage kids to think about topics important to them. Plus, Zigazoo partners with companies and brands such as Scholastic, Nickelodeon and Baby Einstein to offer great content for kids to engage with, learn from, and share.
Zigazoo also features "Celebrity Reads" — the perfect incentive to stop the summer slide. LeBron James, Dolly Parton, Tiffany Haddish, Camila Alves McConaughey, Dylan Dreyer, and Laurie Berkner have all appeared on Zigazoo!
I'm so glad that thanks to Zigazoo I finally have a social media app that satiates my kids' curiosity and interest in creating and watching videos, that I can also feel good about them spending time on. Have you tried Zigazoo yet? Want to see if it's right for your family? Try Zigazoo today!