The HOLLA app and HOLA app have similar names and the same dangerous concept when it comes to young users. Both apps allow people to video chat with random strangers around the world. While many conversations might stay innocent, users report widespread profanity, lewd behavior, and nudity on both apps. The Smart Social team witnessed this firsthand during our app review process.
The Washington Post recently investigated random chat apps
“One of the most common interactions, according to interviews with experts and users of the apps, is men who surprise girls [with inappropriate gestures and nudity] on screen. These people say it’s also common for men to try to persuade women to expose themselves during the chat. ”The Washington Post
What are the HOLLA and HOLA apps?
- They are social networking apps that allow live video chats with random strangers
- You must use personal information to register:
- HOLLA requires a phone number or Facebook account
- HOLA requires a Google or Facebook account
- Both apps require access to the phone’s camera and microphone
- Users cannot filter (by gender or profile) who they chat with on either app unless they pay a monthly fee
- HOLLA has an option to use your phone’s GPS to search for people “Nearby” to video chat with
- Both apps are rated 17+, but do not require age verification to download
- At the time of this review, HOLLA was removed from the App Store. It is still on Google Play and can be accessed by iOS users who previously downloaded it before its removal from the App Store
What users say about HOLLA app:
“This app is great to find friends but there is one problem… There are a lot of perverts on this app.”
13 year-old girl, Google Play
“I saw some popular girls at my school go on there so I thought I’d try it out myself… Most of the people on there are men lying in beds with no shirts on and look over 18.”
Teen user, CommonSense Media
What users say about HOLA app:
“It’s way too many naked men exposing themselves, not something I want to see”
iOS App Store user
“Disgusting app.. users use this for pornography and human trafficking.. I’m so disappointed that Google allows this kind of trash on earth.”
iOS App Store user
What can parents do?
- Delete these apps if you see either on your student’s phone
- Keep an open dialogue about social media safety and connecting with strangers online
- If you need help chatting with your kids about these tough topics, enroll in our Digital Driver’s Ed Program
- When your teen is ready to use apps in a positive way, visit our Parent App Guide and start in our Green Zone
Many random video chat apps market themselves to young users by displaying young people in their ads, including the HOLLA app and HOLA app. However, tweens and young teens should be strongly urged to stay away from these types of apps. Parents should also know that the Terms of Service agreements for both apps give the developers access to collect and share your student’s information.
To find safer chat alternatives, check out Smart Social’s Parent App Guide. You can read Smart Social’s Popular Teen App Guide for Parents and Teachers.