Woozworld


App Review – Woozworld

Threat Level – Moderate 

Woozworld is an app designed by the company with the same name ‘Woozworld’. Originally called kids studio 2.0 and based out of Montreal, Quebec, this app received several awards in 2011 and 2012 for most innovative technology company. As for safety, Woozworld does state they have In game moderators that constantly monitor behavior of players and states the following. ‘Members who engage in any behavior that breaks guidelines set by Woozworld faces punishment by moderators, ranging from temporary suspension to being permanently banned from the virtual social network. Woozworld also sets a fun but a helpful learning education about safety online’. It sounds as if Woozworld has done its homework on how to sound as safe as possible, let’s hope all this is true. 

This app and website is described as an app for fashionistas. It states you can create your own avatar and join millions in a virtual world personalizing your characters story and personalize your avatar with new outfits every week. Woozworld is available for free on both App Store and Google Play store (IOS and Android users). From reading the reviews and viewing website, this social media game is also available to play online through your computers browser, not just the app alone. The app like many others, let’s you download for free then requires money to purchase in game items to upgrade your characters look, buy more rooms for decorating and also allows you to purchase furniture for those additional rooms. They recommended age of app to be 4+. 

On download of app, it was over 100 megabytes so it requires you to wait until a wifi connection is available to download. Once downloaded, the setup process was very quick and easy. Unlike a lot of apps that are similar to this style, it did not require me to login with a username or didn’t require an account setup. Once downloaded, I was able to jump right into creating my avatar. An Avatar basically means you create a character. You select the basics in a menu. This being, male or female, hairstyle, body build and then onto clothes. After I created the look of my character, I was dumped straight into the game. 

Once inside of game, it asked me if I wanted a tutorial. I of course selected yes to get the basic idea of game and how to play. The concept of this app is similar to a Sim style video game. You get to create and select your own room. You setup your furniture and start to be able to build your own virtual world. As I looked around room during tutorial, it showed me how to move furniture and encouraged me to purchase more furniture from the in game store. The in game store is where they make there money. They also let you watch advertisements of company’s to earn in game money without spending real money. You can also spend real money in real life to get more ‘Beex’. Beex is what Woozworld calls its in game money. You can earn Beex as well without spending real life money by completing quests inside the game. These quests basically allow you to do various small things in game for rewards. You can also join the V.I.P status by joining to pay monthly fee of 5.99 (or a couple other packages) to earn special clothing, furniture and other rewards. This app reminded me of a Sims style game because of how you build the world around you. You can also buy more rooms in game to have multiple rooms to place more furniture and customize each room. This game does however have social ties. 

As I was playing the game to get familiar with the controls and to investigate if it was appropriate for children, I was able to figure out the first step of getting social. Remember how I said that you jumped straight into the game without registering an email and there was basically no setup needed, well I figured out why. When you setup, it gives your character a name of 128473682. Which I thought was an odd name. Just a random generated number. You are able to change this In game however but that requires you to setup an in game account with an email address and password for a login account. After you setup account, you are able to select your own name and save it. I did this and created my own name which the game told me could not be changed. During my research, I setup account with own name pretty easy. It did not require any money for setup or to change my name from a generic number to an actual name. It did warn me that my name could not be changed after this initial setup. 

Now that my name was setup, it loaded all the menus that allowed me to select different areas. I noticed there was now a social icon and also a way to travel to other lobbies to meet other people. The lobbies were public and once inside them, I could see other peoples characters and could interact with them. While I walked around these lobbies and tried to interact with others, I did not get any inappropriate messages or requests. I wanted to see if these people that I could see inside the public lobbies tried to chat with my character. While playing this game in the lobby for about 30 minutes, I never received a inappropriate messages from anyone, but it is very easy to chat with others. All you do is walk up in front of their character and click the chat icon. This icon has basic features such as add friend, chat and block. I am assuming this block feature is for people who try to chat in appropriately with others. I was able to interact with one person who told me not to curse because it would get me banned. I guess he had recently came off a ban where he said that he had made a new account due to being suspended for language. The ease of the chat feature was kind of scary for me but this game is designed to be social media gaming app. After chatting with this character for a minute, he sent me a friend request. Which I accepted to see what that meant. Basically it added his name to my friends list that allowed me to see when he was online and send messages to. It also allowed me to delete or block friend if needed. 

I feel like the app could have been a little more safety contentious and should allow parents to moderate chat to turn it on or off and to create filters, but it does not. So the social side to the game is wide open for chatting privately with others. 

You can tell this game has been around a while and has a large following with a lot of players. In every room I selected to go into, there were at least 5-10 other characters I could see that were playing at the same time I was. After walking around and completing my tasks to earn more Beex, I didn’t see any in inappropriate names or text being displayed. The potential obviously is there, but I did not see anything during my review.   

I gave this app a threat level of moderate. The reason being is the ease of the chat feature. If you’re going to allow your child to play the game, I recommend telling them to chat with their confirmed friends of who they know in real life versus chatting with strangers. You can monitor this by checking their friends list to make sure they are playing with or chatting with people they know. The game doesn’t require you to chat or become friends with others but it does encourage meeting new players like yourself. So just remember to monitor those chat seasons and openly communicate the importance of not chatting with strangers. 

I do feel the 4+ age group recommendation seems a little young. This seems more of a early teens app with a lot of reading and problem solving inside the quests. This game seems pretty innocent, but with the chat option available just monitor to make sure no one is trying to inappropriately trying to communicate with your child. As for the clothing and furniture you buy inside game with in game Beex money, I did not see anything inappropriate for purchase. 

As with any app that has a social chatting feature, communicate with your children about the dangers of chatting with strangers. I can see where this app could be fun for kids to build their character and decorate inside their virtual home, but make sure they understand that they don’t know who is on the other side of keyboard when playing with others.  

Keywords – Woozworld, wooz, Beex, social dame sims style, sims, building character, app with girls on front, girls, bratz, city, fashion, three girls, cityscape 

Down To Lunch (DTL)

  
App Review – Down to Lunch
Threat Level – High

Down To Lunch or also known as DTL. Is an app available for Android and IOS for free. The company that develops the app is named Nikil. They have launched several small social media and pic editing apps, but this seems to be the most popular for them.


The app is called Down to Lunch or DTL and that is exactly what this app is for. This app is to connect people in a simple way on how to hook up for common events such as Lunch. Basically a scheduling app that people can see what their friends are doing to meet up with them.  


They advertise this to be a way to find another friend that is interested in eating lunch with you or hang out without having to call or text them. You just set the event up inside the DTL app. There are many other choices that you can select the meet up location for other than lunch like go to Church, go swimming or go to a movie. 


The app is designed for easy use and simplicity. When you log in to the app for the first time, it does require you to register with your phone number. I am assuming this is how it sees other users and allows you to connect to them. After it sends you a text message to verify your account it then requires access to all your contacts. It will search to see if anyone else in contacts uses the app. If not, it allows you to send a text message to invite them to the app. You then are ready to select the date, time and location of your meet up. You can select different generalized predetermined things to do, like meet for lunch, meet for Basketball, meet for party .. etc. You then send out invitation to others that are people using the app as well. You will also notice there is a reward system. The more people you invite, the more more reward coins you receive. These coins are used to unlock different meeting places. These more specific ones are grayed out until you unlock them. Some examples are, go Drink, go blaze (as in marijuana), go play beer pong. These are the categories I would prefer my underage child to stay away from and not know about, while the free categories are mainly harmless (meet for lunch, church, sporting activities..etc. After the invites have been sent to make the meet up, you can then chat with the people in the group that is going. These are your friends or people that are going to group. This is good because of the fact that people you are inviting and chatting with are people you know and can view the messages …. but how about your friends who invite others. This app was intended for adults and parents should know the chat feature and also some of the adult topics you can choose. If your going to allow your child to use this app be sure to monitor their friends and what they are meeting up to do especially if they unlock the topics that are drinking or marijuana related. 


On another note, I went to developers website and noticed on their home page they have been victim of some harsh allegations that they are defending. From reading their page, someone has reviewed or flamed them with being part of a human trafficking ring. They obviously defended that and said they take no part in it and we’re actually asking users to tweet this was not true. On my review, I did not see any indicator of these allegations. It might of been a competitor trying to hurt their app downloads and slamming them with some untrue reviews. 


Just remember this app does have adult content on the subjects that must be unlocked first, but it’s still there and visible even if you don’t unlock those categories. 

I gave the app a high threat level due to several of the things I discussed in review. The most being references to alcohol and narcotics use. This app was developed and designed for adults.

Keywords – DTL, Orange, brown, supper, restaurant, fork, spoon, hookup

High There

  

App Review – High There
Threat Level – Very High


Just when you thought it was safe to get back on the app store. I am now a believer, as you should as well that when it comes to social connection in an app, there are many things that tie people together. Whether it be a hobby or a similar interest that is what social networking is about. But what if that similar interest was something illegal. Would you want your child to be exposed to it? Would you want your child being connected to others that are exposed to it?


The app is called High There and created by the company Bon vert, Inc. Just as you are probably already thinking from the name of the app about what it is about, you can assure yourself now that you are correct. This app is called High there .. yes ‘High’ as a reference to being High on drugs. Marijuana to be specific. The app wants you interact and join the worldwide users of marijuana to make new smoking circles. Of course it says for adults, but kids know about this app as well, hence me talking about it.  


This app is described to be a social media app for Marijuana enthusiasts. The company has created this social network as a way to expand your smoking circle and to make new friends that enjoy smoking marijuana. When you create your account you set your consumption, mood and energy preferences and then you are ready to connect with others. The look and feel is a mix of instagram style app. This app allows you to search and connect with others that enjoy marijuana. Through the app, you can see how far away the user is from you, see their photos posted and also connect with them one on one in a private chat. There is a way to search the trending hashtags that are advertised as #homegrown, #greenmile, #dopeaf and many more. They are clever in their play on words as well offering Daily Joints and encouraging you to ‘roll” your own daily joints by tapping the leaf.  


They do stress that the app is not a place to post pictures of cannabis or consumption of cannabis instead they encourage profile photos that are of the user as a person in culture, and as someone to connect with. But, with that being said. I don’t want my kid having any access to an app that promotes the use of an illegal narcotic. I also do not want them connecting to others that use illegal narcotics. Be diligent in watching the download que for this app. Parents should not want their children being exposed to anything illegal.

Keywords: maijuana, green, leafy, weed, gonja, smoke, smoking, smoking weed, reefer, smoking reefer, leaf, cannabis, weed roll, roll, rolling joint, plant , pot plant, pot