WeChat App: What Parents Need to Know

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January 17, 2018

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What is the WeChat App?

  • WeChat is a free texting, video, and calling app
  • Although some parents might not have heard of WeChat, it is one of the top 50 most popular social media apps in the iTunes store with over 980 million monthly active users
  • Users can make voice calls, send text messages, have video conferences, and share photos, videos or their current location to others on the app
  • In addition to those features, users can send broadcast messages that go out to a group of people
  • WeChat offers free stickers and games with the option to purchase more
  • Users can also post text, images, or videos to their “Moments” for all of their contacts (and WeChat users nearby) to see
  • The app offers Quick Pay which allows users to send or receive money through the app

Why should parents care?

  • WeChat encourages users to chat with strangers nearby or around the world, at random. This feature is incredibly dangerous for teens and tweens
  • Users can connect their Facebook and Twitter accounts to the app which makes it easy to share posts from the app (even if the post was intended to remain private)
  • By default, when a user posts to their “Moments”, anyone nearby can see their posts
  • If a user doesn’t change their security settings, anyone using the app (anywhere in the world) can access the user’s information they’ve shared including photos, videos, and contacts

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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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Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

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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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Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

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

WeChat is a free texting, video, and calling app developed in China.

Parent & educator training video

What is the WeChat App?

  • WeChat is a free texting, video, and calling app
  • Although some parents might not have heard of WeChat, it is one of the top 50 most popular social media apps in the iTunes store with over 980 million monthly active users
  • Users can make voice calls, send text messages, have video conferences, and share photos, videos or their current location to others on the app
  • In addition to those features, users can send broadcast messages that go out to a group of people
  • WeChat offers free stickers and games with the option to purchase more
  • Users can also post text, images, or videos to their “Moments” for all of their contacts (and WeChat users nearby) to see
  • The app offers Quick Pay which allows users to send or receive money through the app

Why should parents care?

  • WeChat encourages users to chat with strangers nearby or around the world, at random. This feature is incredibly dangerous for teens and tweens
  • Users can connect their Facebook and Twitter accounts to the app which makes it easy to share posts from the app (even if the post was intended to remain private)
  • By default, when a user posts to their “Moments”, anyone nearby can see their posts
  • If a user doesn’t change their security settings, anyone using the app (anywhere in the world) can access the user’s information they’ve shared including photos, videos, and contacts

WeChat in the News

An increasing number of teenagers and schoolchildren are using the mobile phone application WeChat for online gambling, as well as to connect with others looking for sexual hook-ups and for the buying and selling of drugs. –Today
The Indian Government blacklisted WeChat, together with another 41 apps, categorising them as spyware. –ABC Australia

What can parents do?

  • If your teen has the WeChat app, have them delete it and discuss other ways they can connect with friends in a positive way
  • Check out our Parent App Guide page and encourage your student to use apps in our Green Zone
  • Before giving them access to a mobile device, ensure that your children know who they can and cannot talk to on social media and through apps like WeChat
  • Research the apps your student is interested in using to help decide if they are safe for your student

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