We created this parent guide because there are reports of predators using the TextNow app to target victims, if your child uses this app they can be in danger. This app turns any wifi connected device into a phone with its own phone number, even if the device doesn’t have a phone plan.
What is the TextNow app?
- The TextNow app turns any wifi connected device into a phone with its own phone number, even if they device doesn’t have a phone plan.
- With the TextNow app, users can send traditional text/sms messages that won’t show up in their phone bill
- Users can add the app to any of their devices which means if someone calls or messages their TextNow phone number, they can chat on the computer, on a tablet, on a cellphone, or even on devices like the iPod Touch
- Additionally, users can use the TextNow app to make domestic and international phone calls
- To make international calls for free on the app, users can complete offers, watch advertisements, or purchase the premium subscription
Why should parents care?
- There are reports of predators using the app to target victims, if your child uses this app they can be in danger
- Students feel like they can hide their activity from their parents when they using the app because their messages don’t show up on their phone bill. This can promote negative behavior
The TextNow app in the news:
Apps [like TextNow] allow users to set up profiles, share pictures and chat with each other. That is how experts say criminals can get access to your child, and oftentimes without anyone ever knowing who they really are.–ABC 27
Police are warning of a new scam making use of the TextNow app after an incident that targeted a 16-year-old girl. According to police, the girl thought she was exchanging text messages with a cousin until the supposed cousin asked her to send [an inappropriate] picture of herself.–Shawano Leader
What can parents do?
- Follow our suggestions to help your child prepare for the responsibility of having a cell phone:
- Ages 0-10: No phone
- Age 10: Cell phone safety contract
- Ages 10-13: Flip phone (SMS/text, phone calls)
- Age 14: Smartphone (without social media apps installed)
- Age 15: Smartphone (with positive social media apps installed)
- Teach your child to avoid using apps like TextNow and encourage them to use the built in text messaging and phone call features within their phone
- Talk to your children about monitoring their cell phone activity and remind them that you will be checking in on them, even if they use apps like TextNow to hide their behavior
- It’s important for your children to know that they can always come and talk to you if a stranger tries to contact them or they experience something that makes them uncomfortable
- Consider starting your child with a flip phone. Flip phones offer students the chance to connect and communicate (without apps and social media)
- Schedule a free consultation call with the SmartSocial.com team to learn how you can keep your kids safe and smart on social media
Due to its anonymous nature and the reports of predators using this app to target victims, we have put this app in our Red Zone. If your student has the TextNow app please have a conversation with them and explain the dangers of using it. Have you child delete the app and encourage them to use the built-in text messaging feature on their phone. Monitor the screen time and have regular conversations with them about the apps they spend time on.