HOLLA App vs. HOLA App: Why Both are Dangerous for Students

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January 23, 2020

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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

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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.
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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

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.

Parent & educator training video

The Washington Post recently investigated random chat apps

Washington Post headline: apple says its App Store is 'a safe and trusted place.' We found 1,500 reports of unwanted sexual behavior on six apps, some targeting minors.
“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?

Hola screen shot: "Become more popular Get more followers"
Hola app screen shot "Hola" wants to use "google.com" to Sign In warning
  • 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:

Holla App logo
“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:

Hola image
“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?

Hola screen shot: "Choose the people you like Live video chats"
  • 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

Conclusion

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.


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