'A problem worth solving': South Florida-based app may provide safer social media for kids

Zigazoo, created by former teachers, doesn't allow direct messaging or comments
An image provided to WPTV by Zigazoo, a South Florida-based social media app geared toward children under 16.PNG
Posted at 7:01 PM, Feb 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-06 19:01:37-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The discussion of children and social media use continues to dominate this Florida legislative session in Tallahassee.

A Senate committee has now advanced a bill that would ban those under 16 from creating certain social media accounts.

While lawmakers continue to debate the topic, a South Florida couple believes they have the answer to safe social media for kids.

The app is called Zigazoo, created by two former South Florida teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 when they wanted a safe way for their kids to have social interaction.

Now it's grown to 8 million users.

"They are actually interacting with each other. They are being social on social media, even though they are not leaving comments. They are kinder because they have to respond visually," parent Taryn Camp said.

Camp said her 9-year-old daughter loves being on Zigazoo, a social media app geared for those under 16.

"They do challenges. You can't leave any comments. But I was like, wow, what a positive app," Camp said.

It requires a parent to sign up and is moderated by humans, not technology. It does not allow for direct messaging or commenting.

Co-founder Zak Ringelstein said they built it around positivity and meeting kids where they're at.

"Social media is here. It’s not going anywhere necessarily. But there are ways to safely protect kids and teenagers from the dangers of social media. And we decided from the beginning that this is a problem worth solving," Ringelstein said.

A Florida Senate committee Monday night advanced a bill to ban minors under 16 from creating social media accounts on platforms with certain tracking ability and addictive qualities.

"This is us stepping in and saying this is beyond any one family and any one parent-child relationship," said Sen. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach. "This is something that the magnitude has reached such a level that we have to step in as a government."

Platforms would have to decide if they fall under the parameters of the bill. Ringelstein believes Zigazoo would be an exception.

"We talk about all the time we need ethical algorithms that don’t prey on your worst instinct, but bring you content that’s going to build you up," Ringelstein said.

As for the bill, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has shared some concerns about legal issues with it being too broad and expects to see some changes as it continues moving through the legislative session.