The Walkie Talkie app is a free communication app that lets users turn their phone or tablet into a two-way radio. Users can share a channel number and invite friends to join them or they can scroll through channels to find someone to talk with.
This app guide explains how the Walkie Talkie app works and why there are some serious privacy and safety concerns for teen and tween users.
What is the Walkie Talkie app?
- The app lets people communicate from any location, in the same style as a walkie talkie or two-way radio
- It only works using cellular data or a Wi-Fi connection
- This is a voice-only app. Images and videos cannot be shared
How does the app work?
- Users can invite friends to chat on a specific channel or they can scroll through random channels by pushing the up or down arrows
- To join a channel, push the stop button until it says “connected”
- The number displayed on the top right shows how many people are tuned in to the channel at that moment
- To talk, a user presses on the speaker area of the screen
- The app must be open in order for the receiving person to hear a message (there are no notifications for Walkie Talkie)
Why do students like it?
- The app is free
- Teens can easily text a channel to friends or share a specific channel number on social media networks
- Students can leave the app on, on a predetermined channel, wherever they go (including school) and communicate with friends without texting or making a phone call
- Individuals or groups can chat on channels
Where is the Walkie Talkie app available?
- Apple App Store: 12+
- Google Play: T (Teen)
- Developer’s Website: walkie-talkie.io (Based in France, Owned by Picslo Corp)
What parents should know?
- Ads pop up while using the app, including advertisements for other apps unless you pay $3.99 to remove them
- Another in-app upgrade, available for $0.99, lets users change the Walkie Talkie color
- There is no way to make a channel private
- This means anyone can listen in on a conversation
- Users can also scroll through channels and try to find strangers to talk 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
A warning from a parent!
What can parents do?
- 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 app
- Since anyone could be eavesdropping on a channel, encourage students to refrain from discussing things they don’t want anyone else to know
Radioing back and forth on the Walkie Talkie app 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 this app. 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.