GroupMe is a messaging app, owned by Microsoft. Users can send group or private messages from their computer or phone using WiFi.
What is the GroupMe app?
- GroupMe is a messaging app where users can send group or private messages from their computer or phone using WiFi
- Users sign up using their Facebook, Microsoft/Skype account, or their email
- Next, users a prompted to verify their phone number through a text message
- GroupMe then asks the user to grant the app access to the contacts on their phone
- Users can also start chatting with other GroupMe users nearby by granting the app access to their location
- Aside from basic messaging capabilities, the app offers emojis (both free and for purchase) and GIFs
- Users can also create calendar events and invite their friends directly in the app, create polls, or send photos and videos
Why should parents care?
- Some students favor the GroupMe app because the content of a message isn’t displayed when notifications pop up on their device. This feature makes it easy for students to hide negative behavior or content from their parents
- Parents have reported instances of kids using the app solely to bully others
- There is no way for users to delete old messages
- Since activity from the GroupMe app doesn’t show up on their parents’ phone bill, some students use the app to hide their messaging activity
- GIFs available on GroupMe can showcase inappropriate content
- The app has built-in features that allow users to search the web directly from the app. There is no way to moderate or filter that content
- Users can enable geo-location which encourages them to chat with strangers nearby. This feature can be very dangerous since predators use it to target victims in their area
- Parents should be aware that within 10 minutes of our team verifying their phone number with GroupMe, they started to receive spam phone calls
GroupMe app in the news
Columbia [University] said it had suspended some of the wrestlers from the team for the rest of the academic year and others until spring semester [due to negative messages sent on GroupMe]. –Newsweek
Private GroupMe messages and group texts [can be] used as backchannels for sharing non-politically correct content. –USA Today College
What can parents do?
- Even though some apps allow students to send unlimited messages, take time to discuss and set limits on how much your teen can use texting/messaging apps to connect with their friends
- When you’re ready for your teen to have access to messaging apps, check out our Parent App Guide page and encourage your student to use the messaging apps in our Green Zone
- Remind your teen of the importance of keeping their messages Light, Bright and Polite, because any message they send online, on social media, or through text messaging can be shared by someone else. Even if the message was intended to remain private
- Get access to our “Neighborhood Watch For Digital Safety” in our private Facebook group when you join Parent University