Social media has become an integral part of our lives, and it’s no surprise that even children are drawn to its allure. However, concerns about privacy and the potential dangers of unsupervised access to social platforms have spurred a debate about whether children should be allowed to use them at all. Betweened, a startup competing in this year’s Disrupt Startup Battlefield, aims to address this issue by offering a social media platform specifically designed for children.
Betweened, a startup, is launching a social media platform designed specifically for children, aiming to teach them responsible and safe internet usage from an early age.
Founder and CEO of Betweened, Carla Engelbrecht, believes that keeping kids off social media entirely is an idealistic approach that doesn’t prepare them for the reality of the digital world. Drawing an analogy to driving, Engelbrecht emphasizes the importance of teaching children about privacy and media literacy to navigate the internet safely. While age restrictions are in place on most social media platforms, they are often easily bypassed, allowing minors to access them without proper guidance.
Engelbrecht’s personal experience, where she was shot by a 17-year-old during her college years, propelled her to dedicate her career to developing positive children’s programming. With a strong background in instructional technology, including work on renowned shows like Sesame Street and PBS Kids, Engelbrecht envisions Betweened as an alternative to short-form video platforms.
Betweened, designed for children between the ages of six and nine, will offer curated content from educators, brands, and influencers. It will feature a discovery feed, similar to platforms like Instagram Reels and TikTok, providing age-appropriate content to its young users. The platform aims to strike a balance between entertainment and education, avoiding the common pitfall of educational content that fails to engage children.
Advertising is a sensitive issue in the realm of children’s media, with regulations in place to protect young users from targeted marketing. Betweened plans to work with brands to create well-rounded videos that are clearly labeled as sponsored content, ensuring transparency for children and their parents. The platform will be fully moderated and curated, promoting a safe and responsible digital environment.
Engelbrecht acknowledges the need for children to understand and process advertising, and Betweened intends to support parents in having conversations with their kids about it. Rather than shielding children from advertisements, the platform aims to provide a context in which advertising can be understood and discussed.
Betweened’s mission is clear: it’s not about shutting kids out of social media, but rather about empowering them to navigate it responsibly. By offering a dedicated platform with age-appropriate content and promoting conversation about privacy and advertising, Betweened aims to provide children with the tools they need to make informed decisions in the online world.