App Review

DOWN

A definite no for KLIKD – not named ‘get down’ for no reason, this app is known to serve as a hook up app for teens. Users are scored on their level of ‘hotness’. The stuff bad outcomes and much hurt is made of…filled with sexual content, sexual requests, sexual imagery.

THE KLIKD VERDICT: JUST NO!
FLIPAGRAM

A KLIKD favourite for fun, artistic expression in all forms from art, to dance to lipsyncing all to your music of choice. But…occasional bits of crude and crass creeping in and users (called flipsters) are starting to populate it with sexual content.

THE KLIKD VERDICT: USE BUT WITH CAUTION AND PARENTAL MONITORING FROM TIME TO TIME.
FORTNITE

The game that took the world by storm! Free to download across all platforms, children without Xboxes and PlayStations have as much access to the game as those with all the ‘stuff’. Not as violent as parents imagine, but filled with profanity, it is really 100 players on a field, fighting to be the last ‘man’ standing. Played in pairs and quads with friends against the other 96, kids are exposed to various strangers all with varying ability to play well. It lends itself to lots of fun, huge frustration and lots of addiction potential. Armed too with fun dances, ‘skin’s (outfits) that have to be bought with V-bucks or earned if you are really good at the game…and kids want them more than they want Nikes. To get them, the kids play for hours, through the night at sleepovers and find it hard to come ‘down’ after a 20 minute gaming session. And if you interrupt the session, requesting your child come to dinner, you will quickly see how addictive the game is and how angry your child can get.

THE KLIKD VERDICT: A VERY CAUTIOUS YES BUT ONLY FOR THOSE PARENTS WHO HAVE STRONG PARENTAL CONTROLS BOTH ON AND OFFLINE.
KIK

No different to any instant message app but unlike w/a has no age verification and therefore no parental control possibility. Needless to say, lots of interaction between strangers.

THE KLIKD VERDICT: A DEFINITE KLIKD NO!
ROBLOX

Hailed by younger kids (8-10) as the new minecraft, Roblox has seen a meteoric rise over the last few months. Roblox is an online gaming platform where you can play games designed by other users and create and share your own made-up games with others. Once you sign up, you can play an infinite number of games, build and share creations, and chat with other users, all at no cost. When downloaded your child can create another world with friends or strangers, chat to them and engage what with what are euphemistically called ‘virtual explorers’ (people unknown to your child). Watch out for older players who try to connect, simulate sex scenes with innocent eight year olds and offer them Robux (the game’currency) for playing along. Roblox recently launched Party Place, which allows kids to create private, mini-social networks exclusively with friends to chat, hang out, and plan which games to play. Check up on your kids list of ‘friends’ to make sure they really know them before allowing this kind of interaction. For detailed inside scoop on everything you need to know about Roblox, download the Klikd Ultimate Parents Guide to Roblox here

THE KLIKD VERDICT: A CAUTIONARY KLIKD YES
HOOP

Essentially Tinder for Teens so it’s another NO from KLIKD. Using your children’s snapchat profile pics, and those of others, kids can connect with strangers and swipe them on or off until they find profiles which they like. Once they’ve exchanged Snap info inside of Hoop, the rest of the conversation happens in Snapchat. Teens earn points for logging in daily, sharing their Snap, getting Snap friends to join Hoop, and taking surveys. Full of predators, full of danger, with the risk feels so much like reward to most teens. Need we say more. For more information on Hoop, download the Klikd Ultimate Parents Guide to Hoop here

THE KLIKD VERDICT: A KLIKD NO
HOT or NOT

This app is exactly what it professes to be – a rating app that that lets you check people out, be checked out, and see the “Hottest” people around. It lets the popular feel more popular and the less popular hurt and rejected. Be warned, the teens love it like moths like light. Invariably there’s pain at the end.

THE KLIKD VERDICT: NO
OMEGLE

Probably our biggest NO of 2020. So dangerous it is, that they creators try to disguise their logo, change their colour (from yellow to red and back again) and shift the lettering in their name to avoid being blocked. Omegle is an online chat that sees connecting without having to register. Users get randomly paired up for fun and exciting chat or video sessions. The dangers are immense.

THE KLIKD VERDICT: NO.
SQUAD

A happy place for tweens and teens to hang out, chat to each other and be real. It’s a no make up, chat in your PJ’s kind of space. Simply a gathering of kids known to each other provided controls are in place. They all ‘hang’ in the same space as they carry on with their day, put on make-up, listen to music watch Youtube together. All the real stuff kids do, but virtually. Most hang out rooms are innocent and only allow up to nine people at a time, with Party Line (the theme of the hangout space) usually being fun and friendly. The odd party line we found was concerning “I won’t cut myself if you…”

THE KIKD VERDICT: A VERY CAUTIOUS YES.
TWITCH

The app that allows kids to watch their favourite, usually professional, gamers play live– a bit like reality television for teens. Boring for us adults and in our view mindless, but for our screenagers, it’s exciting and compelling. To watch, it has to be live-streamed and anything live streamed exposes your child to a level of aggression, violence and profanity that you may not want them to be. Usually leaves kids hyped and filled with adrenalin.

THE KLIKD VERDICT: NO! but you’ll have a hard time persuading your teen.
WINK

Not dissimilar to HOOP and TINDER, WINK connects with Snap Chat profiles and allows you to swipe someone in or out of your life with just flick of your finger. Teens have to exchange information inside of Wink but thereafter it all goes down on Snap Chat making parents believe your child is connecting innocently with known friends on the Snapchat app. Hardly. Built to create loyalty, Teens earn points for logging on daily and sharing their bio and pic (called a snap) and getting other Snapchat friends to join. The account has to be verified with the teens use their mobile number to do so. Right there it is open to abuse by clever hackers. And because teens are rewarded for daily use and sharing snap info, they are vulnerable to sharing with strangers just to get a thrill (and the points). The real issue lies in the app pairing you up with different people. It cares not that your age is 13 – many get paired with 18-year olds ‘looking for love’. Add to that, the searcher can put their preferred age range – so a 25-year-old can say he is searching in the 14-16 age range. Need we say more.

THE KLIKD VERDICT: NO GO!
AMONG US

Just as we thought Covid gaming was coming to an end, Among Us hit the tween world with a force that makes Fortnite look like a sleepy kitten!

Among Us brings simplicity, relative safety and laughter. A great change in tone from what other platforms are offering! Screenagers, in search of excitement, change, and new horizons, have ventured onto Among Us to find they could fill the hungry void of lockdown with outer space realms, old-style graphics and fun. Light and easy is the call of the day with Among Us, albeit that it often requires your kid to outsmart and outthink (rather than just kill) the others in the game.

How is Among Us played?

Each game involves crewmates and imposters. Using seriously basic movements compared to more sophisticated online gaming, the imposter and crewmates move from room to room to accomplish their respective goals without giving any other players cause to vote them out. Each Emergency Meeting discusses who is suspicious and who is not, and the player that has the most votes against them is effectively gets the boot. Players who are booted out then become “ghosts” to see how the rest of the match plays out.

The imposter must pretend (READ: very exciting to a tween) to do the assigned daily tasks in the game while stealthily killing off each crewmate one by one. If a body is discovered, a crewmate can call an emergency meeting to have a group chat trying to figure out who the imposter truly is.

The Good

This is where the game becomes really funny and shrieks of laughter will emerge from your child’s playroom as crewmates begin suspecting each other. Calling each other by the colour of their space suit, through all the excitement, you will hear “Red is Sus”(suspicious)- the biggest insult you can get in a game. But this is very different to the insults hurled in more aggressive games like Call of Duty, Forntite – all the other games our kids have been playing online. The game is also fabulously strategic. If you hanker after other guys on the game, pretending to be a newbie, they might offer to teach you the lay of the land instead of suspect you of being the intruder with a carefully thought out plan. suspect me. Little do they know it’s the last thing they will ever do – at least until this match is over.

Another upside is that unlike some games, this one can be quick –stealing less time from your child’s real life. With Among Us, you can play as much or as little as you want and still have a good time. We at KLIKD also love the basic premise of this game is sneaking around others for fun – so the real online dangerous trolls in the online gaming community somehow lose their power when the good guys are doing it for fun instead of acting in bad faith. There are also no player levels, so kids don’t get to act superior or feel inferior to others. And the live chats are usually fun too – no huge swearing sessions, just who is “sus” and who has their best strategic game hat on.

The Not So Good

Given that the game doesn’t have a voice chat, kids are not being exposed to the usual hate and horror, but as always be aware that players have found plenty of ways around that. Using a third-party app like Discord is quite common, but players may also just call their friends on the phone or even party chat using their Xbox or PlayStation so that they can speak to each other.

So let your kids know you know the tricks of the trade, and if you want your kids to play with their friends only, the upside is the game automatically defaults the lobby to private. Take note that while it’s private, players can only join you if you share your lobby code with them. Give your kids the low down on what is acceptable to you and stick to it!

THE KLIKD VERDICT: IT’S A THUMBS US FROM KLIKD: AMONG US IS GIVING KIDS AND ADULTS ALIKE A BIT OF BREAK FROM REALITY, OFFERING A SIMPLE BUT FUN WHODUNNIT TYPE GAME, AND ALTHOUGH NOT FULL-PROOF (NOTHING IS) IT COMES WITHOUT THE USUAL DARK SIDE THAT COMES WITH ONLINE GAMING.
TRILLER – THE NEW TIK TOK

The massively popular video-sharing app TikTok now has competition in the form of the Triller.

Just when you thought the world was rid of Tiktok (you know they keep threatening to ban it), TRILLER hit our teens devices. This new app allows screenagers to show the world who they are by capturing flawless videos and sharing them in seconds. … Just shoot a few takes, tap the Triller button, and the app quickly edits everything together into an impressive, glossy, and oh so shareable video. I guess you could call it a TikTok lamb dressed in wolf’s clothing.

Unlike TikTok, however, Triller really was all about the music, well at least in the beginning. It raised investment from Snoop Dogg, 21 Savage and the likes of Migos, giving it some real cool factor with the kids that the Chinese app has lost over time. Huge influencers have left Tiktok, and their millions of fans (our kids) just moved on over with them. So more than ever, Triller just looks like a replacement for the app that was.

As with Tiktok, the content is suggestive – one search of #twerk or #porn brought up some interesting footage that we at KLIKD doubt you would want your tween or teen to pair with their oats in the morning. And unlike Tiktok there are no parental controls, no time limits, just the ability to keep scrolling and keep receiving content that you can’t filter. Like Tiktok it shows the lives of rich and famous teens living their best but most unrealistic of lives. Does it allow for real teen fame – we doubt it. But if you are parent that allows Tiktok, you are going to have a hard time convincing your kid they can’t download this real look alike.

THE KLIKD VERDICT – IF YOU’VE SAID YES TO TIKTOK THEN YOU WILL HAVE LITTLE IN THE WAY OF WRIGGLE ROOM TO GET THEM OFF THIS APP. IF YOU’VE SAID, NO. STICK WITH IT FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN.
INSTAGRAM

Instagram appears to be the parents go to ‘yes’ app as it comes across as fun, light and largely about teens taking pics and videos that reflect their day to day lives. Best done by teens who love the filters, it sets many teens up for feeling Inadequate as they don’t meet the perfect princess posts uploaded by many.

The cult of comparison, and “I’m not good enough’ is born on this app as teens watch who was where, when, how they were dressed and who was or was not invited. At a general level, more teen self-esteem has been battered by Instagram than any other app.

Social issues aside, Instagram also lends itself to much in the way of teen trickery. Teens have numerous Instagram accounts known as Finstas (Fake or alternate Instagram accounts that keep parents in the dark about what they really want to post. This means you could be checking one of your child’s known Insta accounts where it is all sugar and smiles, but your teen may well have another that is spice and more spice.

The app also lends itself to teens finding (not so much posting) pornography. This is done searching with hashtags and there’s not a teen who isn’t familiar with how to do that! Teens also know how hide accounts by erasing their search history.

THE KLIKD VERDICT: HOLD OFF WITH YES AS LONG AS YOU CAN WITH THIS APP

Ensure your teen is psychologically robust when they begin their Insta jourey. Watch for the sense of social inadequacy that may arise from too much ‘gramming’, ensure your child is not vulnerable to the sexual grooming that is prolific on Instagram (set strong privacy settings) and ensure that your line of communication with your teen is open enough for you to check out their accounts, all of them, on a whim and whenever you request it.

POPARAZZI

Life after Insta —You betcha!! Here comes Poparazzi!! 

Well if you thought nothing could entice your child like SnapChat or Instagram, think again, Poparazzi has just topped the free apps chart on both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. 

And would you believe the app bans filters and bans selfies but somehow this brand-new photo-sharing app is top of the pops around the globe! 

How does it work?

Poparazzi mimics a paparazzi shoot. It only allows users to take photos of other people. It doesn’t allow filters, follower counts, captions, or photos taken by a phone’s front-facing camera i.e. no pretty selfies, no duck lips, no outstretched arm blocking a smile. Nope, Poparazzi is all about “hyping up your friends,” taking images of them – we repeat, no filters possible – and them taking of you.

Your friends can trail your every move, glamorous and otherwise, and they become your paparazzi – uploading pic after pic of you going about your day-to-day life. And ditto, you can take of them. Your profile is divided in two – your pics of your friends and the ones they upload of you. And for a bit of added enticement, it also shows which users most frequently catch you on camera.

Sound innocent enough? Well maybe in theory, but given that the minute you download the app, your entire contact list is automatically loaded, each profile also gets a “pop” score, which for the added addiction factor, tracks how many photos you take, …and given the teen’s desire to take a few risks, our guess is that Poparazzi will make Princess Diana’s gang of followers look tame.

Remember the photos are designed to be candid and the app doesn’t allow for cropping, adding captions, filters or edits. *This leaves our teens in a very vulnerable position when it comes to managing their online reputations with no control over what is being posted about them. Imagine trusting other teens to manage your public image… *

KLIKD VERDICT: NO

The teen Poparazzi app smacks of fun but also of potential pain, hurt and ‘mistaken’ moments. There are legitimate privacy  concerns see this Tech Crunch article. The app requires your entire contact list which is just filled with concerns, and reliance on others to curate your public image is just plain risky.