NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ohanarama today announced the public beta launch of its safe place online where families connect, learn and play together, which will make its debut at CE Week’s Internet Safety Symposium. The community (Ohana means “family” in Hawaiian) engages extended family members of all ages by tapping into their natural social and competitive spirit through quizzes, contests and fun family games. Through Ohanarama.com or the Ohanarama Facebook application, parents register, set up their kids’ accounts, and invite family members to join in family computer time by linking into the secure, private family network. Jane Hoffer, Ohanarama Co-Founder, CEO and mother of three, will be introducing Ohanarama as part of the Internet Safety Symposium’s “New Solutions for Old Problems” panel on Thursday, June 23 at 3:15 p.m.
“The extended family is the original social network and an integral part of a child’s growth and development, but with families living farther apart than ever before, opportunities for kids to play and interact in person with extended family members are becoming more and more rare,” said Hoffer. “With Ohanarama, we’ve re-created that fun, nurturing environment online and made it accessible from anywhere, by any family member, so kids can continue to experience the joys and benefits that come from being surrounded and encouraged by family.”
Though the Internet and other technologies have opened new ways for people to play and socialize from afar, there is no one, go-to place that caters to the dynamics and needs of extended families. Existing offerings often require additional technologies that might be cost-prohibitive or intimidating for older family members, aren’t accessible to or age-appropriate for elementary school children, or are kid-centric and one-dimensional and don’t encourage families to engage in a meaningful way. With Ohanarama, parents can connect their kids to their grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles in a way that’s entertaining and convenient for everyone.
“As parents of six children ages 4 to 15 who are awash in media choices, we saw a great need and opportunity for a safe, high-quality place online where we’d feel good about our kids spending their time and everyone in the family would have fun,” said Barton Listick, Co-Founder and Chief Technology & Creative Officer.
Prior to launching live to the public, 150 families volunteered to participate in Ohanarama’s private beta test and respond to a follow-up survey. Of the respondents, an overwhelming majority reported that they “loved it” and “had fun.” Approximately 70 percent of respondents said that grandkids logged on to Ohanarama to play games with their grandparents, an indication of the growing trend of grandparents going online to connect with grandkids. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 58 percent of adults ages 65-73, and 76 percent of adults ages 56-64 go online; and 34 percent of adults ages 65-73, and 43 percent of adults ages 56-64 use a social network site.
“Research indicates that 45 percent of grandparents live more than 200 miles away from their grandchildren, and that more than one-third of people ages 50 and older who use social networking sites are linked to their grandchildren (AARP),” said Amy Goyer, multigenerational expert and former National Coordinator of the AARP Grandparent Information Center. “I’ve found Ohanarama to be an easy and fun way for grandparents to connect – both literally and figuratively – with their grandkids and families. By using Ohanarama to teach and play traditional games with their grandkids, initiate or answer personality-revealing messages and quizzes, and learn new games and information from their grandkids, grandparents can be actively involved in their grandchildren’s lives.”
How Does Ohanarama Work?
Ohanarama can be accessed for free by anyone with a computer and Internet connection. Parents register themselves and their children through Ohanarama.com or Facebook. Parents and kids then decide who they want to “invite” into the family network. Family members can then log on at any time through Ohanarama.com or Facebook, but kids under 13 can only log on through Ohanarama.com.
What Does Ohanarama Do?
Members can send scripted or personalized messages and virtual gifts, participate in zany family quizzes, play games by themselves or with a family member, or challenge family members to join them on the leaderboard. Games are curated to be appropriate and fun for all ages, so that parents can rest assured that any activity their child chooses is both entertaining and suitable. Games include popular online games, educational games that adjust to a player's grade level (with adults playing at a fifth grade level), and traditional “old world” games adapted for the Internet, such as checkers, chess and tic-tac-toe.
Does Ohanarama Cost Anything?
It’s free to play on Ohanarama, but players can actually earn something back. There are two different currencies on Ohanarama: Tokens, for virtual items, and Neuros to use toward real world rewards. Tokens can be earned by everyone who plays at Ohanarama and used to purchase virtual items and gifts used inside Ohanarama. Neuros, the Ohanarama cash value currency, can be earned by children when they play Ohanarama educational games.
Ohanarama is the safe place online where families connect, learn and play together. The site engages extended family members of all ages by tapping into their natural social and competitive spirit through quizzes, contests and fun family games. Through Ohanarama.com or Facebook, parents set up their kids’ accounts and invite family members to join the secure, private family network. Ohanarama is COPPA compliant, as certified by the TRUSTe Children’s Seal. Led by technology industry veterans who have launched such products as the JumpStart children’s educational series and Zynga’s Petville, Ohanarama is also backed by investors such as Charles Huang, the founder of Guitar Hero, and venture capital partners, SoftBank Capital and Contour Venture Partners (see “Ohanarama Closes Investment” press release). Ohanarama is the first product launched by BrainRewards, Inc.
About Ohanarama at CE Week
Ohanarama’s Jane Hoffer will be speaking on CE Week’s Internet Safety Symposium’s “New Solutions for Old Problems” panel. The panel takes place on Thursday, June 23 at 3:15 p.m., in the Digital Downtown Conference room at 7W 34th St., 11th floor. CE Week is a New York City-wide event that runs from June 20-25, 2011 and includes the CEA Line Shows and Digital Downtown Conference, and the CEA Demo Suites and Conference.