CEO Janice Taylor, entrepreneur, author, and former Oprah Winfrey top 150, saw the negative effects social media was having on her friends, their children, and her own children. It amplified the pressure of growing up and isolated users. Understanding that if technology was causing all the issues, it could also be the solution. The goal was to create a healthy, positive, and fun engagement platform for families, founded in love. Giving children and parents a place to communicate and connect, creating the "digital family village." In our real-life villages we are taught core values such as respect, truth, family. We experience consequences for our negative actions. However, when it came to the online world, teaching values and consequences for our actions were missing, and young children are not being taught how to positively engage with social media and the online world. They are exposed to content and conversations far beyond their years. They are exposed to advertising disguised as content and unrealistic expectations of how they should look and act. The objective is to provide a space to guide children, through core values, into the digital world. Providing them a space to share their thoughts, ideas, and creations without judgement or negativity. And a place where parents are still involved in their child's experiences.
The strategy was to create the first mobile platform for children and families. A platform that parents felt comfortable letting their children interact on, and that children enjoyed using and supported them.
The first key feature is that users are asked to select a core value before posting their image, story, or video: truth, respect, wisdom, family, creativity, fun, hope. The purpose of this is to create mindfulness in posting. Helping to ask/teach and mentor kids about what types of content are appropriate to post.
Automatic filters and human moderators help keep content appropriate for all ages. Mazu's goal is to marinate children in love, and so inappropriate or negative content has no place.
To prevent behavioral conditioning and users from unhealthy popularity measurements, we removed the like button and follower counters. We encourage users to leave positive comments on other people's posts. Mazu also does not use algorithms to control what content is displayed.
Parents can verify their accounts, thus allowing them to create family groups within the platform. This allows them to add their children to the family group and for them to chat just within their family. Users whose parents have verified their accounts can also add their friends within the platform to chat directly, still using the same automatic language filters to keep conversations free of negativity or bullying.
We also have actively chosen to remain ad free. Children tend to be more susceptible to advertising and cannot always tell the difference between content and an ad. Mazu is not about selling to children and families, but about creating family connections and real conversations.
The Mazu platform was updated in 2017 with a strong focus on core values. Major sports brands in the NHL, NBA, WNBA, and MLS (such as the LA Lakers and Toronto Maple Leafs) have partnered with Mazu to create family friendly platforms for their fans to engage with the teams and the players. And new sports teams are continually being added. Mazu CEO, Janice Taylor was named one of twelve extraordinary Women in Tech by the Consulate General of Canada, named as one of Canada's Top 40 under 40, chosen as one of Oprah's Ultimate Viewers, and selected as a finalist for the 2013 Woman of Worth Awards. This past year she was selected to take part in the Canadian Tech accelerator program in New York through the Canadian Consulate, and The Boardlist put her on an esteemed list of Canadian Female CEOs making a difference in the world. Additionally, in 2016, Mazu was recognized as one of the five Most Innovative Companies in British Columbia, Canada. Taylor has also been featured in Forbes, Inc and the Huffington Post.
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