As part of our commitment to support safeguarding professionals to keep children safer, our online safety team continues to monitor the emerging apps and platforms that are seeing new interest from children and young people.
Below is a list of 4 platforms that we think you should be aware of at the moment. Read on for a summary of each platform and our top tips for keeping children safer online.
What is it?
Similar to TikTok, Triller is a video sharing app. It allows its users to capture short video clips and share them instantly. You can watch videos without logging in or having an account.
If you do sign up for an account, users need to be 13 years or older to access the App. Apple Rating: 12+ Google Play: Need parental guidance.
Young people may see and hear inappropriate language/content
To report or block a user you need to have an account & need to be logged in (this is similar to TikTok)
Inappropriate hashtags and content is searchable
In-app purchases may encourage inappropriate activity to gain followers and earn currency
What is it?
A mobile app that allows users to talk to their PlayStation friends, even when they aren’t gaming. Users can send text, voice messages and stickers to individuals or groups.
Users must be 18 years old to set up a PlayStation Network account. Messaging functions can be restricted where parents have set their child up with a ‘sub-account’.
Apple Rating: 12+ Google Play: PEGI 3
Young people may be exposed to harmful content or behaviours outside of gameplay
Young people may inadvertently share personal information, e.g. where they use their real name as their username, and accept messages from strangers
Young people are able to see who of their friends are online and which games they are playing at any time which may cause them to feel left out
What is it?
Bunch is a video chat and games app that works in a similar way to Houseparty, allowing users to video call and play classic games such as Draw Party or Flappy Bird with friends ‘virtually’.
Terms of service require users to be at least 13 years old.
Apple Rating: 12+ Google Play: Parental Guidance
There are some safety features that can be applied including ‘private mode’ which is essentially the same as locking a room and reporting issues as you would on Houseparty
Users can add friends through ‘deep links’ meaning they can search for friends on other platforms including Snapchat and Facebook
Terms of service change frequently and some functions aren’t known – instead they need to be ‘discovered’ by users
What is it?
OnlyFans is a website-based content subscription service, where users can subscribe and pay for content (photos and videos). Users share subscription-based content with the aim to make money from subscribers. Increasingly users are sharing sexual content and adult images.
OnlyFans state that users should be 18 years-old. Users are required to verify their age via a video showing their ID.
The platform is used by some to sell explicit images of themselves, it often acts as part of a sales model which relies on other platforms to ‘cross promote’ paid content (e.g TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat etc.)
Young people may be attracted to selling content to make money easily
OnlyFans requires ID verification, but this is done via video and can be circumvented
Users may verify themselves, but the effectiveness of age verification is unclear, where users share sexualised content including other people
Our Top Tips
There are a number of things you can do to help keep young people safer online:
1. Talk to Children in your Care about the apps, games and platforms they use
It sounds simple, but talking to young people about the apps, games and platforms they use online is one of the best ways you can address risk online. Using open questions to explore why and how young people use the platforms they do, gives you the perfect opportunity to provide safety messages.
2. Understand the Core Functions of Social Media and their Risks
It can be challenging to keep up with the changing landscape of online apps, platforms and games. We recognise the usefulness of understanding the core functions that online spaces have in common, by understanding these functions, you can quickly get to grips with potential risks to children online. You can sign up to our Safeguarding Hub to receive regular updates and resources.
3. Keep up to date and build your confidence
Keep up to date and understand the ever-evolving risks online by working your way through the various levels of our keeping safe online courses – now available in Basics, Intermediate and Advanced.
4. Visit Our Safety Centre
Our Safety Centre acts as your online safety launchpad, where you can search for devices and certain platforms and learn how to configure their privacy and safety settings. The Safety Centre is updated regularly to make sure you are ahead of the curve.
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