It takes two to Tango, but with the Tango app you can tango with up to 50 people at once. Tango is a messaging app, similar to popular apps like Kik and WhatsApp. Tango seems to have about a billion features, and describes itself as the “all-in-one” social networking app.
With Tango you can make video calls, text chat, share pictures and videos, play games, and send music to friends. With over 160 million registered users, it’s quite possible your teen may have heard of or is using Tango.
Why teens may be using Tango
Tango is multi-platform, meaning it can be used with friends who use different types of devices. For example if all your friends have an Apple device, you can use Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime to communicate with each other. But what if a friend has an Android phone or Windows phone, or no device? iMessage won’t work. Tango is available for iOS devices, Android phones and tablets, and Windows phones and PC’s and. This gives the ability to communicate by voice, text and video regardless of your operating system. Tango also provides the ability for group chats and calls, a social feature teens are likely to enjoy.
Games and music and more
After using Tango for a bit I could see the appeal. During a video chat you can send cute animations, you can play games while chatting, and can share music using Spotify right within the app. There are filters you can add to enhance the photos you send, and filters to add cool effects during a video chat. While adults might just want a quick way to communicate via text, teens and young adults would likely spend more time hanging out with each over the app using the fun add-ins.
Privacy concerns and other considerations
Profile Privacy and Location
By default, your Tango profile is public. There is a “find friends nearby” feature that uses location services to find other Tango users near you. You can set your profile to Private and you can turn off location services for the Tango app if you would prefer not to use these features. Parents, if your kids are using Tango you may want to ensure these settings are in place. This would prevent random people from finding them on Tango.
Annoyingly, with Location Services turned off, I often saw a prompt to turn the service back on. I’m not sure how many times you’ve got to click “Got it!” to stop seeing this reminder! My thought is that teens that see this every time they use the app are going to feel like they are missing out. While you can lock location settings in place using restrictions the constant reminder may not go over well.
Also, even with location services turned off, there is a search box where you can change your location. So really all you have to do is tell Tango where you are – or mark any location on a map – and the app will search for users near that area. This makes disabling location services kind of useless – you can manually set your location instead of having your device tell the app where you are.
The Popular People of Tango
There is a page called “Popular People” which gives you access to some user’s profiles. This looks to be mostly young men and women, and includes a filter if you only want to see men or only want to see women (which makes it seem like a “let’s hook up” sort of app). This is an “anything goes” kind of area – nothing to stop teens from clicking through the profiles – since they are public – to view the many selfies posted by Tango users. Most were tame, but I did see a bit of nudity and a nice young gentleman with his middle finger in the air.
As with other social networking sites and apps, certain information in your profile is always public, such as your name or username and profile picture. This is true with Tango, so you might urge your teen to make sure they are not sharing personal information here. There is a spot to include birthday (month and date) and gender but you can leave those blank. I did realize that once you add that information, there is no way to remove it (which is kind of annoying).
The Tango service is free, but there are additional options you can add as in-app purchases. For example during a call you can send animations to friends – notice you can buy them for $1.99. There is a feature (mentioned in the iTunes store but not on their website – at least that I could find) called “Tango Premium Discovery – Chat with the most popular people on Tango” for $9.99 per month. There isn’t much detail about what this means exactly, but I suspect it gives you the ability to chat with the users who show up on that “Popular People” page. (If anyone knows – leave a comment!) If you are concerned about in-app purchases, you can always disable them in Restrictions.
- Only “friend” people you know
- Don’t accept calls/texts unless you recognize the name or number
- Don’t give out your name/number publicly such as on another social media profile
- And always let you know if they encounter anything or anyone scary or disturbing.
Tango does have a “block user” feature if it comes to that. With these safeguards in mind, Tango could be used just as safely as built-in messaging such as iMessage. I would probably recommend for older teens only due to the “Popular people” section that might display content deemed inappropriate for younger eyes.