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Youngsters safe when they click on our new social site
THE next social networking craze may have started in Worcester.
IT expert Lee Meere, aged 31, and best friend Phillip Whitehead, 33, have just launched the new social community ‘Pili Pala’ and hope that it will go on to become a household name like Facebook or Twitter.
But while they hope to replicate the popularity of other sites, they believe a strong emphasis on users’ safety and privacy sets it aside from other alternatives.
The pair originally thought of Pili Pala as a way for members of the children’s self-defence class they run in Pershore to keep in touch and connect online.
But as Mr Meere created the website – a task that took every hour of his free time over a period of five months – he realised the project potentially had wider appeal.
“A few months ago I was shocked when one of our eight-year-old pupils asked if I would become their friend on Facebook,” he explained.
“When I pointed out they were too young, I was told ‘all my friends are on it’.”He said: “What tends to happen is the age they choose for their profile is over 18 so they fall outside of any protection measures that are put in place.”
Mr Meere believes they have overcome those issues by creating a site that is purpose-built for use by the whole family.
“Initially the plan was to make a network solely for children, but research indicated that parents would feel more comfortable if they could join the site their children were on,” he said. As well as ensuring the default privacy level is ‘friends only’, the site does not use phone numbers in profiles and has a built-in swear filter.
He said: “While we take your privacy very seriously, all messages and chat logs can and will be moderated to ensure a safe environment for everybody.” Within this super-safe environment Pili Pala – which takes its name from the Welsh word for ‘butterfly’ – offers everything you would expect from a social network.
The site is starting to gather momentum, boasting more than 50 members and adding more all the time as word spreads.
Visit mypilipala.com to find out more.