Singapore-based Geckolife launches operations in India

Social networking website targets pre-teens to virtually network under parental guidance

Amid reports of an estimated 73% of underage children in tier-I and tier-II cities using social networking websites and a spurt in cyber bullying and sexual abuse cases, Singapore-based Geckolife, a platform that allows pre-teenage youngsters social network under parental watch, on Thursday launched operations in the country.

The website, built by Singapore-based entrepreneurs Rajeev Gupta and Ashish Trivedi, is free to all and allows parents of pre-teenage children to oversee all connections, engagements and online content that they have access to.

"Created with a focus on personal and collaborative online communication, GeckoLife's interface gives members 'safe spaces', within which they can tailor discussions around their topics of interest," the company said in a press release.

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"This removes the clutter of an unfiltered newsfeed and allows members to focus on what they are interested in. Within these spaces, members can share conversations, images and files, with the ease of automatic archiving and the simplicity of organising their discussions in one common place - on GeckoLife."

Geckolife had a soft-launch in India a few months ago, and already has close to 5,000 users. In addition to families, Geckolife has also seen interest from organisations keen to tap into niche target audiences and interest groups.

The website is launched at a time when a study released by computer security software firm McAfee has said that one in three Indian youths have been cyber-bullied.

As many as 64% children who were surveyed said they manage to hide their online behaviour from their parents, while 62% said they would change their online behavior if they knew parents were watching.

Besides the website, Geckolife also has mobile applications for Apple and Android phones.

Trivedi, who is himself a parent, says he and his partner wanted to create a "meaningful and private" social media experience for families, which would help youngsters in the age group of eight to 12 years become "responsible social individuals".

"We are aware of the impact of digital footprints and the curiosity of children to explore the online world," Gupta said.

"We aim to fill a niche in the social market, offering a private, family-friendly option that introduces children to the benefits of online communities and opens doors to conversations around online responsibility and smart social networking."

Geckolife, which has been funded by the two co-founders and has also got an angel investment of $1 million in 2013, currently has presence across Singapore, and Australia.

First Published: Nov 17 2014 | 4:46 PM IST

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