Apps / Lifestyle / Startups

This messaging app was cofounded by an 8-year-old

A father-daughter team created Marimba so kids can chat safely, and legally.

Children under 13 can use Marimba, a new chat app. (Photo by Flickr user Kyle Mahaney, used under a Creative Commons license)

Eight-year-old Annelise wanted to chat with her friends, so she asked her dad for permission. But Andrew Schiebler found no chatting apps for children her age. So they teamed up to make one.
Marimba Chat aims to “give elementary school kids a safe place to chat with their friends and family,” Schiebler said in a press release.

Marimba Icon @512

The Marimba icon.

The Bethesda, Md.-based app verifies new accounts with parents’ government-issued IDs and has built-in filters for profanity, plus geolocation and security alerts.
Once signed up, parents can control the amount of time their child spends on the app, monitor the chats from their own phone, and block invitations and connections from people they don’t trust.
The free app is compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, meaning that it can be legally used by children under 13.
For Schiebler, it is also about teaching children digital etiquette before it’s too late.
“We help parents teach kids about online interaction like appropriate language, how to treat their friends, and what to do if they feel threatened,” he said. “These life skills are just as critical in the digital arena as they are on the school playground.”
Check out this intro video featuring Annelise:

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = “//”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));

Marimba – Our Story, by Annelise

My 8-year-old daughter Annelise wanted to chat with her friends and we couldn’t find a safe solution that didn’t require us to lie about her age. We built this together as a daddy-daughter project. This video tells our story in Annelise's words. Learn more at

Posted by Marimba on Tuesday, December 30, 2014


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