Despite the fact that children’s online safety continues to be a major anxiety for parents (nearly 80% of US parents harbor some level of concern for potential online threats to their kids, according to a new report from PCMag), this year’s Brand Love study from youth and family research firm Smarty Pants found that YouTube, Netflix and gaming products are among the most popular brands with US kids ages six to 12 (see the full breakdown on p. 70). Taking macro trends like these into account—and the fact that kids as young as toddlers are on tablets—new Austin, Texas-based media company Tankee pinpointed a gap in the market for kid-safe products that meet the insatiable on-demand and gaming needs of under-13s.
Launched in less than a year by co-founders and gaming specialists Gerald Youngblood and Dan Chiu, the company’s self-titled platform is a free, COPPA-compliant destination for six- to 12-year-olds.
Tankee features more than 300 hours of family-friendly gaming videos. This includes “let’s plays” from top gaming influencers like CutePlay and NyteOwl, and gameplay content from publishers, such as Minecraft, Roblox and Rocket League.
Available for iPad on the App Store, Tankee lets kids customize their own avatars, use stickers to react to content in real time, and compile highlight clips to save and share with their friends. Exclusive original content from Tankee’s in-house production unit, in partnership with the company’s influencer and publisher partners, is expected to roll out in the coming months.
“We wanted to create the first kids gaming network with videos that kids love, but also give parents the peace of mind of a safe environment for kids to watch the content in,” says Youngblood.
With online safety top of mind, Tankee parntered with UK digital platform SuperAwesome and digital media brand SuperParent. The company is leveraging SuperAwesome’s Kids Web Services platform for secure parental authorization, as well as its ad platform, which serves up age-appropriate advertising. SuperParent, meanwhile, provides feature and review content for Tankee’s parent portal, plus additional customized kids content. Tankee also partnered with Warner Bros.’ digital game division Machinima for a slate of content from creators such as AviatorGaming and JeromeASF.
Tankee’s internal team of human moderators watch everything for inappropriateness.
“We’re taking into account all of the nuances that make reviewing gaming content challenging,” says Youngblood. “It’s not just the words coming out of someone’s mouth or the video on the screen, we’re also looking at chat boxes, usernames or gamer tags that could be inappropriate.”
He notes that, despite all of the current privacy challenges in the online space for kids, now is the perfect time for a company like Tankee to launch.
“Tankee was born in a post COPPA-compliant world,” says Youngblood. “We’re launching at a time when GDPR-K is being implemented in Europe, and we see that as a huge benefit because we don’t have to go and retrofit any of our policies or processes to make them compliant.”