WeChat is a free texting, video, and calling app developed in China.
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
- Consider joining Parent University to get videos you can watch WITH your kids so they will learn how to be safe and smart online