I have a tween in the house, and I’m seeing this can of worms opening a little more every day… This weekend, I finally succumbed to the pressure and installed TikTok to her phone. I worry not so much for my own child, but rather the pressure it puts on other children, who may not have the same digital skills that I teach.
So, I opened a conversation with my child the other day about what we would do if we started from scratch, and this is what came out of it:
She’d like to have a space where she doesn’t need to worry about the whole world. I’ve told her the risks of grooming for example. She doesn’t want to relate to it, and frankly, she shouldn’t. Grooming is a serious design flaw in current social media.
She’d like to interact with her friends, doing fun and silly stuff also when they’re not physically together. It seems like some kind of video-based community, all with fun video effects, sound effects, singing songs, doing fun choreography around tunes, that would be right up her alley.
She’d like closer interaction with her “Youtube stars”. Totally alien world to me, but there a few teens who have a really big following. They are putting quite some time into creating content, and then interact with their followers, but there seems to be a lot of potential in making this interaction scale and more interactive.
It sounds like a really interesting direction.
I mean, due to age of consent limitations, poor security design, dopamin driven social media, there are lots of reasons why kids are prevented or shouldn’t be on social media. Some of these may hold true with Solid, others may not, and creating good, safe, non-exploitive experiences for teens and tweens on Solid could get a very strong group of users.
There’s a very interesting startup called “No Isolation” here in Norway. They have a avatar-bot for kids who are unable to go to school or follow the social settings that others kids have: https://www.noisolation.com/global/av1/
It seems to me that including such an app in this bot could not only help kids out of isolation, but also add fun.