Threat Level – High

Foursquare is a location based social networking website for mobile devices. They have an app on all the mobile operating systems. Users create an account then “Check in” at restaurants, events, or wherever they are to earn points. Location is based on the GPS hardware that is inside the mobile device itself, whether that be a phone or tablet.

The user invites friends to follow them as in most social networking sites, to view where their friends are checking in and what they are doing at the time. When you check in, you can attach a picture, a tip or any comment you would like. At that point, you can select if you would like your picture, tip or comment public or private. The private setting only allows your friends that you have approved to be able to read what you said about the check in. If you wish to leave that open to public view, then anyone that is a foursquare member will be able to view.

Some people will leave Tips open to the public for anyone to see. For example, if you are checking in at a local restaurant that offers a special on Tuesdays, you may want to let everyone know that. If it is a tip you want to leave for friends only, you may get more personal. I have read good tips and bad tips, but people are utilizing the social networking aspect to let others know about the establishment.

As I stated in the first part of this review, you earn points for checkins to compete against your friends. You get bonus points for certain things. Such as, checking in with others, checking in when other people are there or even for sharing a Photo. If you check in more at one location than anyone else and are consistent with your checkins, then you can become “Mayor”.

If you hear your children talking about being the Mayor of a location, or knowing someone that is a Mayor, they are probably talking about Foursquare.

Businesses are utilizing Foursquare as a marketing tool. If you start to look around as you walk into businesses (restaurants particularly) you will start to see the Foursquare logo, or Check in Here in the same colors as the Foursquare app. This usually means, they offer a discount or special price on certain items, if you check in on foursquare.

Foursquare concept started in 2009 with a company called Dodgeball and Google Latitude. As of 2011, Foursquare was reporting over 20 million users with over 3 million check ins a day. There is multiple language support for world wide use.

I gave this a High Threat level. I started with moderate, but then thought the idea of your child giving their location of where they are bumped it to high. Just make sure to monitor their friends list, and as always discuss the app with them and make sure they are aware and understand public posts versus private posts. Communication is shared with friends, so be sure to create a Foursquare account with them! On a good note as they get older, you will be able to see their checkins and status:)

Blue, blue app, check mark, green ball, green golf ball, ball on check mark

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