Walkie-Talkie Apps: Who Is Your Student Talking To?

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Walkie-Talkie Apps: Who Is Your Student Talking To?

April 14, 2021
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Table of Contents

Walkie Talkie Apps: Who is Your Student Talking To? by Josh Ochs SmartSocial.com

Walkie-talkie apps, like the Walkie Talkie App, Voxer, Zello, and Two Way are communication apps that let users turn their phone or tablet into a two-way radio. Users can share a channel or frequency number and invite friends to join them or they can scroll through channels to find someone to talk with. 

This app guide explains the popular apps available, how the walkie-talkie apps work, and why there are some serious privacy and safety concerns for younger users.

What are the walkie-talkie apps?

  • The apps let people communicate from any location, in the same style as a walkie-talkie or two-way radio
  • They work using cellular data or a Wi-Fi connection
  • Some of the apps send only audio, but others allow users to share images and videos
  • Also known as "push-to-talk"

Why do students like walkie-talkie apps?

Screen shot of a #WalkieTalkie Com discussion
Walkie-talkie channels are often shared on social media
  • The apps are often free
  • Teens can easily text a channel or frequency number to friends or share on social media networks
  • Students can leave the app on and set to a predetermined channel, wherever they go (including school) and communicate with friends without creating a record of a text or phone call
  • Individuals or groups can communicate together

What are the most popular walkie-talkie apps available?

A search for "walkie-talkie" in the Apple App Store or Google Play results in no shortage of apps designed with immediate communication functions. Additionally, some apps, like Discord, have built-in push-to-talk functions. Some of the most popular apps for students include:

Walkie-Talkie App

Voxer Walkie Talkie Messenger

Zello app logo

Zello PTT Walkie Talkie

Two Way: Walkie Talkie app logo

Two Way: Walkie Talkie

Walkie-talkie-apps in the news

ABC News 33/40 headline: Risky social media apps parents should be watching on their teen's accounts
‘At least weekly someone comes in here who has a child that's been approached online.' ABC 33/40
WBNS 10 headline: Some apps could have a potential hidden danger for your kids
According to USA Today, nearly 300 new apps are created every day. Not every app... is safe for teens. 10 WBNS

What should parents know about walkie-talkie apps?

  • Users should assume anyone can listen in on their conversations
  • Users can scroll through channels and find strangers to talk or listen to
  • There is no way to monitor a child’s conversation or who they are talking to unless you know what channel they are on and constantly listen in
  • There is a risk of exposure to foul or lewd language since conversations are not moderated
  • These apps often have pop-up ads including advertisements for other apps or in-app upgrades

What can parents do?

  • Download the app yourself and explore it with your student
  • Make an agreement with your student about how they will use the app and who they will talk with
  • Explain the dangers of talking with strangers and ask your child not to invite strangers to chat with them on a channel
  • Remind your student to avoid giving out personal information or oversharing on the walkie talkie apps
  • Since anyone could be eavesdropping on a channel, encourage students to refrain from discussing things they don’t want anyone else to know
  • If you don't already, subscribe to SmartSocial.com's free newsletter to get weekly updates on new apps and social media dangers and trends

Conclusion

Radioing back and forth on walkie-talkie apps can provide a fun, and sometimes practical, way to chat. However, students should be aware of the dangers before they use it. Most people wouldn’t want a random stranger listening in on a phone call, but that risk is very real on these apps. Students should also know the dangers of chatting with strangers and what’s okay to share, and what’s off-limits, in an online conversation, including via walkie-talkie apps.

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