Building a social media hub to connect street children globallyThe Digitally Connecting Street Children platform enables street children to connect and share their stories, dreams, challenges, insights, and practical tips related to keeping safe on the streets.
Over the past year, we’ve had the pleasure of working with the team at Consortium for Street Children (CSC) on designing and building a private and secure social media platform for street children across the world. This platform is the first of its kind and means the possibilities and direction were all up for grabs.
Our main priority throughout the whole project was always around safeguarding and ensuring that the platform is secure for the children. Every new feature and decision always prioritised their safety and we’re immensely proud to have created this protected online space for children to connect and share their stories.
CSC had an existing platform in place that presented content in a way that didn’t appeal and foster engagement amongst the children. Our goal has been to create a space that’s easy and intuitive to use, whilst also appealing to the younger audience and through several rounds of user testing, we can firmly say that we’ve achieved this.
- Consortium for Street Children
- November 2021
How the platform works
For children to use and interact with the platform they need to visit their local drop-in centre where facilitators host workshops covering a variety of topics ranging from protection from violence; access to basic services; equality; access to justice; rights; and gender.
During these sessions, the workshop facilitators will allow children to access the platform through their login. This means that children can not access the platform in any other setting, which complies with the safeguarding nature of this project.
When children are logged in to the platform they can share the outcomes of their workshop in the form of social posts (similar to what you or I would do on Facebook) in the forms of videos, audio snippets, and images. They can also see other children’s content and engage with this through commenting or reacting with emojis. Children can also take part in quizzes and soon we’ll be creating games too!
It was clear from our initial kick-off workshops that children’s accounts needed to be anonymous for their privacy. Whilst children can only access the platform when working with a facilitator at their local drop-in centres, it’s still key that the data they choose to share on the platform isn’t connected to them in any way.
We wanted to make this constraint fun and engaging for the children by allowing them to choose a character to act as when they’re logged in. This means that any content they post, quizzes they take, the content they react to is done through their character, an example being the Pink Elephant from Peru.
Within the platform, we’ve created a variety of different characters ranging from animals to food for the children to select and this has been a great hit during our user testing sessions!
We’ve also designed and built a quiz section within the platform that encourages children to learn and understand more about specific topics relating to children’s rights and staying safe on the streets.
These quizzes involve a mixture of picture and text-based multiple choice questions where children get unlimited attempts to get the answers right before moving forward.
Along the way, children collect stars and receive a certificate at the end of the quiz that’s personalised to their anonymous character. Within future phases we’ll be working on designing drag and drop questions, introducing sound effects, and even working on adding games into the platform.
“We engaged The Idea Bureau to build a social networking platform for street children – the first of its kind. They’ve exceeded our expectations, creating a platform that is well-designed, appealing to children and intuitive to use. In my 13 years of experience as a digital professional, I believe The Idea Bureau are the best developers I have ever worked with.”
It’s been a pleasure to collaborate with the team at Consortium for Street Children on this project that helps connect street children across the world in a safe way. We’re excited that our digital expertise could help facilitate a fantastic project like this and we look forward to continuing to work with the team to improve the platform.
You can read about our previous work with CSC here.