Wink Guide (2023): What Parents & Students Need to Know

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August 18, 2022

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Unlock this lesson to learn what you can do to keep kids safe on Wink

This Wink app guide will help parents learn

  • Why Wink is so popular with students
  • Why parents should care about Wink
  • Tips to keep student safe while using Wink

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


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.


Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

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


Irene C.

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Table of Contents

The Wink app, commonly referred to as the Wink dating app,  connects people with strangers all over the world. This SmartSocial Red Zone app is designed to work like other popular dating apps.  Users swipe through profiles to discover new people, friendships, or relationships and once connected, “friends” can chat in the app or move their conversation to Snapchat.  Many parents are asking “are dating apps safe for my kids?”

In this app guide parents will learn 1) what is the Wink app and how it works, 2) why the Wink app is dangerous for tweens and teens, and 3) tips to keep their kids safer while using this app.

Parent video lesson

(This parent video is best to be shown to adults)

What you’ll learn in this video lesson

(Click on the three lines or a blue dot in video progress bar to skip to a chapter)

  1. What is the Wink app?
  2. Where is Wink available and what is it rated?
  3. Dangers from the news
  4. Why do students want to be on Wink?
  5. Why should parents care about Wink?
  6. What can parents do about Wink?
  7. Join the conversation and share

What is Wink?

Wink is available on Android and Apple devices
  • The Wink app is a social network that allows strangers from around the world to connect via video  
  • Wink works similarly to the popular dating app, Tinder. Users can swipe left or swipe right to view profiles
  • Users can post photos, a bio, an audio intro, and list interests in their profile
  • While viewing another person’s Wink profile image, a user can click to request a “friend”
  • Users can view requests from others, view their profiles, and decide if they want to be friends
  • New Wink friends can be added to their Snapchat account, or can they chat directly on Wink (via text, voice, or video)
  • Wink’s terms of agreement state users must be at least age 13 with parental permission to join Wink but there is no required age verification
  • Wink users have the option to have their profile “verified” to ensure you are the person you are claiming to be by taking a selfie and submitting it to Wink for their internal review and verification. There are no other safety features built into the social media app
Wink users can filter their search preferences
  • Wink users can create search preferences when searching for new friends:
  • ~Gender: Guys, Girls, All
  • ~Age range: 13-17 years old (if the student sets their age as 18 or over it will give the age range of 18-100)
  • ~Distance: Country or Global
  • ~Verification: The only way to search “verified profiles only” is to pay for a subscription known as Wink Plus
  • The app is gamified and users must earn “gems” (or points) to continue adding new friends on Wink

What is Wink rated?

“Wink is the best place to make new friends from all over the world! It’s as easy as swiping right and starting up a conversation with your potential new bestie.” - Google Play

Apple App Rating: 12+

Google Play Rating: T (Teen)

Developer’s website: Wink (Based in USA, owned by 9 Count Inc.)

Privacy Policy

Terms of Service

Community Guidelines

Examples of Wink dangers in the news

Easington pervert caged after sending sexual messages to what he thought was an 11-year-old girl
“[A man] began chatting to what he believed was an 11-year-old girl on a social media app called Wink....He told the girl that she looked very sexy and chose to send pictures of himself without a shirt on… he 'promised to teach the girl about sex' and 'described sexual acts he wanted to perform'... [He] then sent an explicit picture of himself to the decoy as well as a video." - Chronicle Live

Why do students want to be on Wink?

  • Their friends are already on Wink and talk about who they are meeting
  • The app makes it easy to search for new friends and then connect via Snapchat
  • Users can earn gems every time they check in on the app, share a Snap, refer a friend, etc. Continuing a “chat streak” helps earn gems
  • Even though Wink states that it is “for friendships only”, many kids use the app to find romantic relationships and consider it a dating app (Source: Wink)

Why should parents care?

Wink app profile example
Example of a teen's profile on the Wink app
  • There are zero parental controls built into Wink
  • Profiles show a user’s name, photos they have shared, age,  country, and even state
  • There is no option to make a profile private
  • There is also no age verification, so kids under 13 could possibly use the app and set their age to over 18 to meet adults. Also, adults could easily pose as teens to connect with young users
  • Wink users are encouraged to connect their Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok accounts to their profile
  • Wink has a system to verify accounts, but it is not mandatory and unverified  users can still message back and forth within the app
  • Although Wink’s website says the company has a 24/7 moderation team and uses technology to scan all images sent through the app for ‘nudity, violence, and gore,’ it’s easy to find inappropriate content and photos while swiping through profiles
  • The app encourages users to use Wink every day to earn more points (users can only connect with new friends if they have earned enough points)
  • Within minutes of joining Wink, SmartSocial researchers received inappropriate (adult-topic) messages from new “friends”

What can parents do?

  • Download the app and use it yourself before deciding if it’s appropriate for your kids 
  • Talk with your tweens and teens about the dangers of dating apps and chatting with people online who they don’t know in real life
Report/Block feature on Wink
  • Remind students to never give their other social media account information to strangers (like their Snapchat account or Instagram account, even if they think they are talking to a friend or someone their own age)
  • Teach teens they can report inappropriate behavior or block users in the Wink app by tapping the “...” icon and using the report function or emailing [email protected]
  • Remind your student they can always come to you or a trusted adult if anyone ever makes them feel uncomfortable online
  • Explain that the images and information they include on their Wink profile is public, so they should never share location details or other personal information
  • Monitor your child’s phone usage, set a time limit, and create a Smart Phone & Social Media Agreement with your student
  • Use the SmartSocial 100+ Teen Apps list to help your student find an app in the Green or Gray zone with a safer environment

Key terms/slang about Wink

Gems - The in app currency which is earned by making friends, continuing chat streaks, checking in everyday, or paying money

Wink Plus - Paid subscription which offers more benefits

Boost - Makes user profile a “top profile” for a limited period of time


Many teens are communicating through popular apps like Snapchat and are always looking for new friends to follow.  The Wink app is designed to help users find friends across the globe and encourages them to take their chats to Snapchat.  

The Wink app is in the SmartSocial Red Zone due to the many opportunities for predators, exposure to inappropriate adult content, and sharing of personal information. If your student is interested in using the Wink app we suggest reviewing one of our other apps listed in the SmartSocial Green or Gray Zone.

The Wink app connects users with people they don’t know. It’s designed to work like popular dating apps, where users swipe through profiles to discover new people. Once connected, Wink "friends" can chat in the app or click a button to connect on Snapchat.

Additional Resources

Read more about Snapchat in Navigating Snapchat (2022): What Parents, Educators, & Students Need to Know

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