Join the party before your kids do!
When I hear the words House Party why is it the song ‘the party doesn’t stop til I walk in’ starts playing in my head? Remember the good ol’ days when a house party was just that – a group of people together in someone’s house having a party? As of just a few weeks ago there’s a new party in town and it’s become all the rage with the teens and tweens.
What is Houseparty?
Houseparty is a new group video chat app available on both apple and android products. We’ve spent some time exploring and playing on this app and we can see how the kids would love it. As business owners and employees go it could be a great new way to do video meetings. However, it does raise a few safety concerns that we want to share with you.
How does it work?
To get started and join Houseparty, all you need to do is download the app, enter your name and create a username. It is a free app and it states that its age to join is 4+. Once you join you will be able to invite your friends to join you. Once you and friends have connected whenever they join the party you will get an alert that they are in the house and you are now able to connect and start a video chat with them. If you are already in a conversation with another person on Houseparty your connections will be able to also join into that group chat. You can currently have up to 8 people in a video chat at one time.
Safety and privacy concerns
Where this opens up an entire new circle of communication and online safety is that if one person in the chat happens to be connected to a user and the others are not friends, those connections are still able to join the conversation because of the mutual connection. Which means that kids who do not know each other have the opportunity to be chatting with people they do not know.
That being said, HouseParty does give you the option to lock your conversations. We do like this idea as once the conversation has been locked everyone is notified that user has locked the conversation and if someone should try to join in they are not able to do that. So, if your kids are going to be using the Houseparty app we encourage you to get them into the habit of locking the conversation. If someone within the conversation does unlock the chat, then everyone is notified that the conversation has been unlocked, which is a good feature for this app to have in place.
Another concern that we found is that if you are in a video chat with friends whether the room is locked or not, if someone were to take a screenshot the group members are not notified that someone has taken a picture of the room. The person who took the picture automatically then gets a pop up asking where they would like to share the picture. This is a red flag alert to us as people could be sharing personal information thinking they are in a private chat, someone takes a picture and next thing you know it’s on Twitter or Instagram or Snapchat or whatever the social platform the picture taker decides to share it on without anyone’s knowledge. Please talk to your kids about this; although the rooms are locked they still don’t want to be sharing any personal information or images on this platform.
We also found that this app drained our batteries when we were on it, so be aware of that. This is a video sharing app so will need either data or wifi in order for the platform to work.
We know that social platforms aren’t created for bad purposes so let’s think about some of the positives ways kids could use this app. It could be a good way to connect if there was a group project to work on, and they needed to ask questions or get together but are unable to meet in person. Houseparty could offer a way to meet virtually, lock the room and work on the assignment together.
You could also use this platform as a means to communicate with family. If you have family who do not live close by or a member of the family travelling for business as a family you could all join the party, lock the room and have a video conversation with everyone.
Sports teams or community groups could use this app as a way to communicate with one another. Let’s face it, it’s an app that pretty much anyone could use. It’s how we use it that will change the safety around this app.
The verdict on the Houseparty app
This is going to be an app to keep your eye as it’s only just been released and the kids are just finding it and starting to use it. We encourage you to join the party before your kids do!
To see how this app works be sure to watch our HouseParty live video chat below.
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About Socially Safe
Stacy Maynard & Kerry Hills are moms with successful social media businesses. We have a passion for helping children understand how to use social media safely. We have joined together to implement into classrooms and the community our Socially Safe, Socially Fun, Social Media programs. We are Moms of kids between the ages of 8 to 15, so we understand the need to help our kids stay safe and create a positive digital footprint. Social Media is not going away and we are passionate about teaching our kids how to use it, have fun and stay Socially Safe.