A new mobile application called Kuddle is introducing a safer way for kids to get introduced to social media, while still under a parent’s watchful eye. The photo-sharing app, which is like a more restricted version of Instagram, allows children to post and share photos with friends in a protected environment, safe from cyberbullying or unwanted connections from strangers. Founded in March by a team of Norway-based developers and designers, all with kids of their own, the idea was prompted by co-founder and CEO Ole Vidar Hestaas’s experience raising his children. His 7-year old son wanted to be on Instagram, like his older sister was, but of course that’s not allowed… or, frankly, a good idea at that age.
Did you know that there is an Instagram for kids? It’s called Kuddle, and the photo-sharing application was designed by developers in Norway who built the thing with the noblest of intentions. It’s designed, first and foremost, to teach kids manners and discourage online bullying. Investors seem to be keen on the idea, too. Reuters reports that the company raised $2 million in funding recently and is about to raise $8 million more, the bulk of which will be used to make a major push in the United States market before the year’s end. By that time it could exceed upward of a million users. “We are very happy with the growth so far,” founder and chairwoman Kathryn Baker tells Reuters. “We have had an average daily growth of 10 to 15 percent and the uptake has been great.” The major difference between Kuddle and other photo-sharing apps is it’s heavily fortified with built-in safeguards. Not just anyone can sign up: When you first create your login, you’re prompted to provide the name and email of a parent or guardian over 18, who can monitor your activity. (Hi, Rose!) Until they register, none of your photos are visible. When you first join you only have one friend: Someone named Kodi Kuddle–apparently the service’s version of MySpace Tom–who by the looks of it has a natural knack for photography.