When asked about GeckoLife, a new social platform suitable for groups, families and children to safely communicate and collaborate, GeckoLife co-founder Rajeev Gupta simply said: “It aims at challenging the true meaning of ‘social’.”
In my opinion, a platform like this was always needed, especially if you look at the effect of social networks on the people who use it, like children. GeckoLife not only provides a safe platform for groups, families, and children to communicate with each other, it also provides parents with control over their wards’ activities online, something which we as parents have always desired. It has already received favourable responses from its target users, considering the fact that the site launched on October 8th with about 5,000 existing members.
Ashish Trivedi, the other co-founder of GeckoLife, said to Vulcan Post, “GeckoLife lets you organize your social spaces, in one place with a focus on safe, personal and collaborative online communication. It gives users a multi-purpose online space, where they can strengthen relationships and discuss what’s relevant.”
The most unique feature of GeckoLife which appealed to me, and should appeal to every concerned parent, is that parents can create and exercise control over what their pre-teen children are doing online. This is very important if we consider the 2014 Teens and the Screen study (Singapore) conducted by McAfee that says that 75 per cent of parents surveyed in Singapore know only a portion of what their children do online. GeckoLife’s survey conducted at Techventure 2014 echoed the same, with 56 per cent of parents surveyed allowing their pre-teen children to have a social media presence, whilst keeping a watchful eye. GeckoLife aims to make this process as simple as possible.
It doesn’t mean you are in control of your children’s accounts, instead you are curating the content that gets to your child. Before any communication reaches them, the parent can see it. Once the parent approves it, then the child gets to see it.
“The administrative rights as a parent are flexible and can be tweaked depending on the age or level of social responsibility the child holds,” confirmed Mr Trivedi.
“Family-only conversations – isn’t it already possible to create a restricted access group on various other social networks? How is Gecko different here?” we asked. Mr Gupta accepted it is possible but pointed out: “The issue is not just privacy, it’s safety. Once a child is active on most social networks, it is impossible to prevent them from accessing harmful information outside of a family conversation. On GeckoLife, nothing can touch your child without your supervision, if you set it up that way.”
The interface, seemed to me, easy to use and fun. Like most of the social networks, all the updates from your family comes to your home stream or home screen. You can comment and collaborate. It is not only beneficial for families, even colleagues or groups in college can use GeckoLife to meet on the weekend or share important updates with each other.
GeckoLife is available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. When you get 27 5-stars and 4 4-stars out of 31 ratings, you know you are doing better than good. One satisfied comment read, “This is as good as a family app can do. Got my entire family to switch to GeckoLife… Only we are in control of our own family content. Good job there.”
One thing GeockoLife might have missed is the chat option, like the ones we have in FaceBook or Google Plus. Even if three family members are online at the same time, they can’t communicate in real time. Isn’t it possible to allow them to chat with parents having access to total chat record? In this age of Whatsapp and Line messenger, missing out a chat element doesn’t seem too wise.
It will be difficult to say that GeckoLife is a holistic replacement for FaceBook, in fact, they are not aspiring to be so. While FaceBook is about meeting new people and creating larger groups of friends, GeckoLife allows grouping of known people online. While it is a remote possibility to find the prince charming from far strange land on GeckoLife, it’s more suitable for staying in touch with your second cousin who is in England. Didn’t someone say, “Friends, like books, should be few and well-chosen”?