House Party is the latest app you’ll want to have on your radar. House Party is a video chat app, developed by the team who built and then shut down live streaming app Meerkat . You can chat with up to 7 other friends at a time within the app. While Live streaming apps let you transmit to the masses, House Party is different in that these are closed conversations. Well, sort of – and that is where you might want to be aware of how House Party works before you determine if it’s a good choice for your tween or teen.
Here’s a tip for parents who are worried about kids using up all their data. You can restrict apps so they’ll only function when using a WiFi connection. This method is also useful if you use a parental control solution at home that only works when using your WiFi – make sure the kiddos can’t bypass by switching to 3G on their phones. I’m not sure why I haven’t thought of this before! Maybe others have and you already know – but if not here’s how you do it.
Last year I mentioned Periscope, Meerkat, and YouNow as three apps that parents should be familiar with. At the time, Meerkat (now defunct) and Periscope were fairly new. People using the apps at that time were the early adopters. But now, live streaming has gone mainstream, especially now that Facebook is in on the action with Facebook Live. And, live streaming is attracting a younger audience due to live.ly, from the makers of popular app musical.ly. It’s important for parents to be aware of these apps and services due to the risks involved with live streaming.
Contrary to popular belief and contrary to my previous version of this article, you CAN restrict iMessage on an iPod touch or iPad, if you think your kids are too young for texting. Here are step-by-step video instructions.
Are your kids using these apps?
Yeah, I did it. I downloaded Pokémon Go. I’m not much of a gamer, and I usually don’t jump on bandwagons. When a new app or technology is hyped up to the extent that Pokémon Go has been, I tend to rebel and stay away until the fervor has died down. Usually I can wait a while to see if an app is going to take off before installing and testing it out. But, alas, I went ahead and downloaded Pokémon Go about a week after its release – after dead bodies had been discovered by people playing the game, after police stations were putting out warnings, after two men fell from a cliff playing the game, after a man crashed his car playing the game, and after a man was lured into a robbery at gun-point while – you guessed it – playing the game.
If you do a Google search right now for Pokémon Go, you’ll see over 36,100,000 results. So there’s a lot of information out there already about this app. This is not a comprehensive tutorial. (I’d have to get much better – I’m pretty dismal, I’ve only caught 2 little monsters so far!) But I wanted to highlight a few key facts that parents will want to keep in mind when evaluating whether their kids should be playing Pokémon Go.
musical.ly is an app for creating and sharing short videos. First introduced in 2014, musical.ly has become popular with the tween and teen set in their never-ending pursuit of popularity and fame, social likes and validation. Plus, it’s fun. While you can have a private account, most kids don’t. Here’s what parents should know about musical.ly.