With parental concerns about privacy and predators unlikely to go away anytime soon (and kids’ aversion to being seen with their parents an eternal truth), there is a lot to recommend private social networks intended just for families. Recently two more social networks for families launched: SocialParent and Save The Mom.
As its name suggests, SocialParent is a social network app that allows parents to connect with each other to coordinate plans, make recommendations, and share various types of content including photos and video. The apps developers, Reza Raji and Gerry Gutt, emphasize the app’s simplified communication features, which allow users to avoid the clutter of group messaging on Facebook or email lists. These include permanent and temporary groups for close friends and more transient connections (e.g. a summer sports league) respectively. They hope to make money by offering local deals to users based on their activities and interests, and are also considering a “freemium” model, with extra features available to paying subscribers.
Save The Mom is an iPhone app, developed by an Italian startup, more tightly focused on the family unit itself, with tools including family to-do lists, personal and shared calendars for appointments and social commitments, photo sharing, and so on. Users can also poll family members (what do you want for dinner?) and send audio text notes to each other, allowing parents to communicate with kids who are still too young to read or write. The app is supported by advertising, with a Condé Nast partnership in Italy. While the name strikes me as a tad sexist -- are we throwing dad under the bus? -- maybe that can be forgiven as an endearing Mediterranean quirk. Or not.
Of course these aren’t the first social networks to target families: there’s also eFamily.com (formerly Famiva), FamilyCrossings.com, and MyFamily.com, to name just a few examples. However not all these are free: MyFamily.com charges $29.95 per family group per year, and FamilyCrossings.com has a tiered “freemium” model, including basic free service and a $9.95 per month premium service.