How to Keep Students Safe on Google Hangouts

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October 2, 2017

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What are Google Hangouts?

  • Google Hangouts is a messaging platform that is tied to your Gmail address
  • Message friends, start free video or voice calls, and start a conversation with one person or a group
  • Hangouts also allows users to send photos, stickers, and emojis
  • Users can easily share their current location to any conversation with Google Maps integration
  • Turn any conversation into a free group video call with up to 10 other users
  • With Hangouts, users can call any phone number in the world
  • All calls to other Hangouts users are free
  • Users can also connect their Google Voice account for phone number, SMS, and voicemail integration
  • Google Hangouts works on desktops, Apple, and Android devices
  • Users can message their friends anytime, even if they're offline

Why should parents care?

  • Some parents have found predators targeting their kids through Google Hangouts to try and entice them into partaking in video calls or sending photos of themselves
  • It’s easy for children to pretend to be older and for adults to pretend to be younger on Hangouts
  • Google Hangouts can be used to cyberbully students
  • With many of our Green and Gray Zone apps, Google Hangouts can be used positively if parents set guidelines from the beginning and monitor their child’s activity

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This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

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Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

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This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

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This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
This app is not safe for students to use unsupervised, but a Green Zone app can serve a positive purpose to help a student to navigate social media and someday build an online brand. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Green Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Gray Zone apps often contain lots of private & disappearing messages, and strangers can use this to chat with students. Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe. This zone can be a great place for family time since many of these apps can be entertaining, and let your students express themselves. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Gray Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone.
Red Zone apps often have lots of anonymous features, adult content, and easy contact with strangers. Supervision is strongly suggested on each of these apps or move your kids to a safer zone. All apps require parental supervision, these apps more than others. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Red Zone or view our list of 100+ Apps to find a safer app with your student.
Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ app reviews at SmartSocial.com

This trend is categorized as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge.
Viral challenges encourage students to do dangerous things to garner likes, views, attention, and subscribers. These challenges can be found across several social networks and may encourage students to perform dangerous activities. SmartSocial.com keeps parents updated on these social media challenges before an incident may occur in your community.

Table of Contents

Note: Google Hangouts was primarily discontinued in July 2022 and replaced with Google Chat.

Google Hangouts is a messaging platform that is tied to your Gmail address. Users can message friends, start free video or voice calls, and start a conversation with one person or a group.

What are Google Hangouts?

  • Google Hangouts is a messaging platform that is tied to your Gmail address
  • Message friends, start free video or voice calls, and start a conversation with one person or a group
  • Hangouts also allows users to send photos, stickers, and emojis
  • Users can easily share their current location to any conversation with Google Maps integration
  • Turn any conversation into a free group video call with up to 10 other users
  • With Hangouts, users can call any phone number in the world
  • All calls to other Hangouts users are free
  • Users can also connect their Google Voice account for phone number, SMS, and voicemail integration
  • Google Hangouts works on desktops, Apple, and Android devices
  • Users can message their friends anytime, even if they're offline

Why should parents care?

  • Some parents have found predators targeting their kids through Google Hangouts to try and entice them into partaking in video calls or sending photos of themselves
  • It’s easy for children to pretend to be older and for adults to pretend to be younger on Hangouts
  • Google Hangouts can be used to cyberbully students
  • With many of our Green and Gray Zone apps, Google Hangouts can be used positively if parents set guidelines from the beginning and monitor their child’s activity

Google Hangouts in the news

Police are putting out a warning after they said a man try to lure a teen into a relationship in [Google Hangouts]. –WSB-TV
My classmates and I utilized technology like Google Hangouts to successfully collaborate and communicate. Because of this, I can lead and work more effectively with different teams, generations and backgrounds. That’s something I can apply to GE. –Penn State News

What can parents do?

  • If your teen has Google Hangouts, discuss the dangers of the platform and ways they can use it positively
  • Check out our Parent App Guide page and encourage your student to use apps in our Green Zone
  • Encourage your teen to use Google Hangouts as a tool for group projects or to connect with out-of-state family members
  • Before giving them access to Hangouts, set guidelines and make sure you know their password
  • Remind your children that they should always come to you, or a trusted adult, if they experience anything that makes them uncomfortable online
  • Teach your teen to keep all of their activities positive because they can be discovered by colleges

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How to Keep Students Safe on Google Hangouts

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