SEOUL, Oct. 18 (Korea Bizwire) – A fifth-grade class’s list of suggestions on eliminating vulgarity and typos from the country’s most popular online messaging app Kakao Talk was acknowledged by company CEO Lim Ji-hoon, who said that the ideas are being considered.
Last month, Lee Ki-tae and his class of fifth-graders at Wonho Elementary in the city of Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province, created the list by working on a project to commemorate Hangeul Day (October 9), a national holiday celebrating the creation of the Korean script (Hangeul) by the Joseon Dynasty ruler King Sejong.
Lee opted to discuss ways proper Korean could be better utilized in the ubiquitous Kakao Talk, which is installed on an estimated 97 percent of all smartphones in the country.
The students, who themselves are avid users of the app, responded with enthusiasm, bringing forth a host of creative insights.
The list of ideas included a background screen that serves as a reminder of the true purpose of Hangeul, a ‘King Sejong Bot’ that provides proper spelling advice and a ‘Correctness Thermometer’ that would fill up by degrees every time the user types Korean correctly, culminating in a prize won when the thermometer hits its peak.
To encourage civility in the online texting world, the students recommended an identification system in which users who employ kind words can be given a star on their profile.
Despite concerns over a possible letdown if the company issued no response, Lee decided to send the list to Kakao’s headquarters.
His fears proved to be unfounded, as a handwritten letter from the CEO and gifts of notebooks and dolls from the Kakao Friends store arrived for the students on October 16.
CEO Lim’s letter read, “I was blown away by how pretty the students’ hand drawn pictures were and the quality of their ideas. Your suggestions are being considered by the Kakao Talk team and I want to thank you for your great ideas.”
The company’s official statement said the ideas are in the process of being considered with regards to their legal and technical possibilities, and that whether any of the ideas will be implemented has yet to be determined.
In a phone interview with Yonhap News, a grateful Lee said the students were “very much surprised and happy” when receiving Kakao’s response to their suggestions. “It’s a relief that [the students] were able to experience a side of adults who are receptive to even the small voices of children,” shared Lee.