Houseparty App Review For Parents of Teens (Is It Safe?)

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Houseparty App Review For Parents of Teens (Is It Safe?)

March 25, 2020
Green Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
We believe this app is a STARTING POINT for your student, but that you must monitor your student on every app they are on. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Gray Zone

Parents and Teachers: Please note this app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe.
Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Red Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone. We believe this app is not safe for students to use without adult supervision. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Dangerous Social media challenges

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge. Knowing about social media challenges before your teen does can help you keep them safe before an incident occurs. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Table of Contents

The Houseparty app lets users have group chats and play games with friends without leaving the house.  The social network launched in 2016, but is more popular now than ever during the pandemic. Houseparty was downloaded more than two million times in just one week of March 2020, according to App Annie. But is it safe for students?

The SmartSocial.com Team created this app guide to let parents and educators know how Houseparty works and the stranger dangers that lurk on the app.

What is the Houseparty app?

Houseparty app screen shot: "Connect with your friends and their friends, too."
  • Houseparty is a video chat app that mimics an actual house party where users can move from “room” to “room” video chatting with others
  • Users can chat with 2-8 people at the same time
  • They can also text friends and play games together on the app
  • Houseparty encourages users to have frequent, candid conversations with their family, friends, and friends of friends
  • The app creates a live, always-on place that you can dip in and out of whenever you want

How does Houseparty work?

  • The app asks for your phone number and permission to access your camera, mic, location, phone contacts, and social media contacts
  • You can tap a little hand-waving emoji to say hi, and a phone-call emoji to video call
  • You can tap the dice icon to play games or trivia during chats 
  • The app notifies your friends each time you log in
  • Users are notified if a friend of a friend enters a chat
  • You can tap the lock icon to make the chat private and prevent anyone else from entering the room

Where is Houseparty available?

Houseparty app in the news

Financial Times: "How the viral app Houseparty is entertaining a generation in lockdown. Video chat app that allows spontaneous gatherings is replacing social life for millions stuck indoors
'Houseparty has a big base around teenagers and always has… [But] with everything that’s going on, a bunch of adults now have the time and need for new connections,' [said Ben Rubin, Houseparty’s co-founder.] Financial Times
“The group video chat is the perfect app for Generation Z to continue their disconnect with physical reality.” Forbes
“Because there's no screening and the video is live, there's always the possibility of inappropriate content for children.” Common Sense Media

Why should parents care?

Hosueparty screen shot: Share your screen with your friends.
  • All chats are unmoderated, which means students can come in contact with inappropriate behavior or cyberbullies 
  • Friends of friends can enter a chat, so students could be exposed to strangers
  • The app does notify users when a stranger enters the room - so they can choose to leave or stay
  • Users can screenshot their video or text chats and post that private content to social media
  • Teens can use this app for sexting and other inappropriate behaviors

What can parents do?

  • Review the features of the app with your student. If you decide Houseparty is okay for your teen, then:
  • Tell them not to share their location on the app
  • Encourage them to exit the chat if a stranger enters the conversation
  • Teach them to keep their chats in private mode by using the lock icon
  • Remind students to ask themselves “How would I feel if this conversation was shown publicly to my peers, neighbors, or to my relatives?” before texting or saying something in a group chat…. even if they think the chat is private

Conclusion

Houseparty offers older students a fun way to socialize. But parents should take note of the risk factors before deciding if it’s a good app for younger students to use. You can read about other chat apps on the Smart Social App Zones page.

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