Owned by Snapchat’s parent company Snap, Inc., the Bitmoji app allows users to create a cartoon avatar or “emoji” that looks like themselves. Since it’s easy to create Bitmojis and share them on other apps, teens could get themselves in trouble if they create an inappropriate Bitmoji that gets shared on social media (or screenshot and shared). If your student has (or wants) the Bitmoji app, download the app and create your own avatar. Spend time using the app so you can determine if it’s a good fit for your family.
What is the Bitmoji app?
- Owned by Snapchat’s parent company Snap, Inc., the Bitmoji app allows users to create a cartoon avatar or “emoji” that looks like themselves
- Bitmoji can be used as a standalone app or can be added to iMessage, Android’s keyboard, and Google Chrome
- The avatars created in Bitmoji can be shared on any app
- When users use Bitmoji in Snapchat, they unlock Friendmoji which allows users to create 2 person Bitmojis with their friends
- On Snapchat, users can drop their Bitmoji into the real world and animate them
- When creating a Bitmoji, users can customize the hair color, hair style, hair length, skin tone, body size, face shape, eye color, and more
- Users can either upload a selfie or create a Bitmoji from scratch
- Bitmojis can be added to documents or photos
- When signing up, users can create an account in Bitmoji or use their Snapchat credentials
- Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Gmail, Gboard, Slack all have Bitmoji integration
There are 3 Bitmoji styles – Deluxe, Classic, and Bit Strips
- Bit Strips are the original Bitmojis, users can create a comic strip using their avatar
- Classic lets users create avatars that look like themselves
- Deluxe gives users more options to customize their Bitmojis
Why should parents care?
- The app is incredibly popular, it was the #1 app on the iTunes app store in 2017
- It’s very easy to create Bitmojis and share them on other apps. Teens can get themselves in trouble if they create an inappropriate Bitmoji that gets shared on social media (or screenshot and shared)
- Creating a Bitmoji could encourage teens to obsess over their looks which can be damaging for their self-image
- Some security experts warn that giving 3rd party keyboards access to your device’s data can put your privacy at risk. Bitmoji collects more data from Android devices than iPhones
- Some Bitmojis may include profanity or inappropriate activities (such as drinking)
- Some users have reported that there are not enough features to cater to all ethnicities and body types which can leave some students feeling left out
Bitmoji in the news:
“Thanks to Bitmoji Deluxe, my Bitmoji now gives me anxiety… With the deluxe version, there’s no escape from feeling like I’m always looking at myself under a microscope.”–Digital Trends
“In 2017, as Bitmoji and Snapchat integration grew tighter. The app rose up download charts to become the most downloaded iOS app of the year worldwide – with Snapchat itself in second place.”–The Guardian
“Some Bitmoji options can be a bit racy for kids.”–Common Sense Media
What can parents do?
- If your student has (or wants) the Bitmoji app, download the app and create your own avatar. Spend time using the app so you can determine if it’s a good fit for your family
- Understand that Bitmoji is popular on Snapchat. Set guidelines around Snapchat and discuss them with your children
- Remind your children to keep their Bitmojis Light, Bright & Polite™, even if they intend to keep it private. It’s easy to screenshot a Bitmoji in a text or private message and share it elsewhere
- Teach your children to avoid comparing themselves to others and understand that social media doesn’t show the complete picture
- If you decide that Bitmoji is safe for your family, consider sitting down with your children and creating a Bitmoji together
- This is a great opportunity to see how your children are affected by the app. If they are feeling left out because there aren’t enough options to customize their Bitmoji, be supportive and remind them that there are other ways to be their authentic and positive selves online
The Bitmoji app is owned by Snapchat’s parent company and is very popular with students. Teens and tweens want to use the app because of its integration with Snapchat. While it can be fun for students to use the Bitmoji app, parents should be concerned about how easy it is for their child’s content to be shared across any social media network (even if it was intended to remain private). Creating a personal Bitmoji can encourage teens to obsess over their looks which can be damaging to their self-image. So, parents should use this opportunity to start a positive and supportive dialog with their kids if they have the Bitmoji app.
What are your best tips for keeping students safe on the Bitmoji app? Let us know in the comments below!