Good Digital Parenting
Blog | Oct. 3, 2018

Super Awesome: KidTech Company Keeping Kids Safe Online

Intern, Family Online Safety Institute

Ever wonder how big online brands protect your child on their platform? After all, it is hard to imagine where kids’ protection falls on their list of active priorities and what they are doing to specifically keep young users safe. For some companies, the answer lies externally with a company called SuperAwesome.

What is SuperAwesome?

SuperAwesome is a “kidtech” developer that creates infrastructure for companies to build safe online presences for children. According to their website, “SuperAwesome powers the kids digital media ecosystem.” Since their creation in 2013, the company has grown to work with many major companies that target young audiences; their technology reaches almost half a billion children in North America, Europe and APAC, according to the SuperAwesome website. Some of their most well-known clients include Cartoon Network, Nintendo, and Mattel.

The main problem SuperAwesome attempts to remedy is advertisers’ and content-owners’ difficulty complying with kids data privacy laws. These laws are mainly comprised of the United States’ Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation- Kids (GDPR-K). While the laws are different and independently complicated, each statute has laid out “zero-data” parameters that ban companies from progressively tracking kids online. SuperAwesome capitalizes on the complexity of this legislation and has created tools to help brands adhere to them.

What does SuperAwesome offer?

The SuperAwesome products that enable a “zero-data” Internet are largely geared towards advertisers and content-owners that are looking to reach an under-13 audience. By nature, their products are not user-facing, meaning that the company offers tools to other companies, rather than directly marketing to consumers. Their company-facing products include:

  1. AwesomeAds is an ad platform that makes sure advertisements in kid spaces do not invade children's’ privacy and are kid-appropriate.
  2. Kids Web Services (KWS) is a platform that helps developers create apps and sites that comply with children privacy law. The service handles a wide-range of responsibilities for content providers, such as parental consent, content seeding, and registration, according to their website.
  3. KidAware is a certification program for companies to stay up to date with relevant children privacy regulations and assess their platform for compliance.
  4. Kidfluencer helps brands safely use YouTube to reach kids.
  5. SafeFam is a certification program for family and kid YouTube content creators to help them understand the regulations in place for kids’ privacy online.

In addition to these products intended for advertisers and content owners, SuperAwesome also has created PopJam, a social engagement platform for kids. According to their website, “PopJam is the only COPPA-compliant, safe social content platform purpose-built for kids. It’s a safe, moderated community for kids to engage with their favourite content and brands, designed specifically for the safety and data privacy requirements (COPPA, GDPR-K) of the under-13 audience.” Unlike their other products, PopJam has a consumer-facing platform, accessible as a mobile app, that directly engages with children users. Brands and YouTubers can create channels on the platform to reach young audiences.

All content created on SuperAwesome’s platforms is checked by both computer and human moderators, SuperAwesome CEO Dylan Collins said in a February article in TechCrunch. Their system is responsible for monitoring large amounts of information: according to the same article, there are tens of millions of pieces of content flowing through SuperAwesome’s platform every couple of weeks. In short, SuperAwesome’s infrastructure protects brands from breaching the law and children from sacrificing their privacy or seeing inappropriate content.

Why should parents care about SuperAwesome?

There are a few reasons why it is a good idea for parents to be aware of this growing startup. Understanding the organization and its products can help parents comprehend issues in kids online safety, find safe spaces for children, and use the company’s tools to their advantage.

Primarily, SuperAwesome is a leader in developing technology for keeping kids safe online. As a result, their technology and programs shed light on current problems facing children’s use of online tools and can help guide parents in monitoring their kids’ online activity. For example, SuperAwesome’s emphasis on regulating advertisements in kids’ online spaces reinforces the idea that parents should be careful of what sites their children visit online. Unless the site is committed to children’s safety, and perhaps uses a platform like SuperAwesome’s, it is possible that your child runs into an ad that they should not be seeing.

Parents can also discover safe online places for their child through the company’s products and certifications. For example, their PopJam platform provides a safe alternative to social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat for children. Further, keeping an eye-out for brands and YouTubers with SuperAwesome certifications can help identify safe products and online spaces for your child.

Finally, SuperAwesome’s reach is growing. The company expects 100 percent growth in 2018 compared to 2017 revenue, according to the TechCrunch article. As more and more children’s brands begin to associate themselves with the company, either through using its platform or receiving one of its certifications, it can be helpful for parents to understand what the various products do and what exactly they mean for children’s safety.

In short, SuperAwesome has moved into an area in need of help. As social media sites and other online activities replace traditional forms of entertainment and more children are developing an online presence, innovation is necessary to keep them safe. Moving forward, groups like SuperAwesome dedicated to online safety  will reveal how and where protections must continue to develop.