Bubble Chat

App Review – Bubble Chat

Threat Level – High


Bubble Chat is a free app designed by a company named Hit Labs. It appears this is Hit Labs first app for the Social Media genre and they went all in. 

Group texting has slowly become popular with teens and adults. I see my daughters using apps such as GroupMe and iMessage group texting with their friends. My daughters cheer team and gymnastics team utilize the group feature of GroupMe. You also see circles of friends of your children getting involved in group messaging to stay connected. 

So what is Bubble Chat? Bubble chat is a group texting app that has added a few extra features to make it stand out ahead of the competition. 

When you first download the app, it asks you what kind of group you are wanting to start. Sporting group, friend group, etc. The app will then ask for your phone number to confirm you do have a number to associate it with. After these couple of steps to setup, you are ready to start your group. The app makes you select one person to add to the group before the group is created. Once your group is live, you can then add more people to it. The app uses data to send messages rather than using your texting plan through your cell phone. Most text driven apps use data, either cellular or wifi depending on what you are connected to. 

If you use GroupMe or other messaging apps, the group text user interface will look similar. It has a chat window at bottom of screen along with buttons for sharing pictures, videos, gifs and stickers. You will also see a drop down menu at the top with the name of the group (or bubble) you are currently in. You can have multiple bubbles ..aka group chats.. going at one time. You will

notice in the lower menu there is a button for live video chat and also a menu of “celebrities” you can invite to your chat. I didn’t recognize any of the celebrities myself. They stated they were anything from professional models to MMa fighters. How often one of these so called celebrities will ever jump into someone’s chat is beyond me. Bubble Chat having this celebrity feature draws in curiosity from children. 

The live video chat feature is something that the many other competing group texting app doesn’t have. You can select the live chat and immediately start sharing live video with up to 10 people in your group. This is a good feature for the app, but unsupervised children and live video chat do not mix well. Adults or monitored chat for your children would be preferred for this feature. Add the “celebrity” chat and now you could have your children inviting strangers or so called celebrities to their chat groups. or live video streams. 

Other members of your groups or “bubbles” must have the app installed on their devices as well. The live chat feature along with inviting “celebrities” to your bubbles, is what bumped this group texting app up to a high threat level. 

Make sure if you let your kids use Bubble chat, you stay on top of who they are in chats with and especially who they are live chatting with in the video streams. 

Description – B, bubble, b letter, letter b, 3D b, neone b, bright color b, 3b’s, neon b, bubble, chat, GroupMe, group chat, group video, live video 

Live.Me


App Review – Live Me

Threat Level – High


Live me is an app developed by KS mobile Inc. It appears from a quick search, this company has been involved with a handful of applications for iPhone and android devices. Their library consists of anything from picture collage editing apps to live video streaming apps. It appears they took a jab at the photo sharing app. Live me however being the one app it appears they have put the most time into for all the features available. 


Live me advertises itself as the number 1 way to watch live streaming videos with video chat. With the growth of the app by Twitter called Periscope and also Facebook live video status updates, now is the time to get on the mainstream media train when it comes to live streaming apps. People are wanting to stream their content live instead of posting videos or still images. We started seeing a turn when it comes to broadcasting where a lot of tv reports are now streaming all their media live on several different streaming platforms. 
As for Live me, it appears from the advertisements attempting to market to younger adults but it does have a 17 plus rating in the description of app in App Store. It says the plus 17 rating is for infrequently crude humor, mild profanity and mild sexual content. Also mature, suggestive scenes. I realize this is a generic description in the app comments on why it is a plus 17 rating, so remember this if a child tries to download this app to their device. 


This app after download has a lot of the familiar looks of other social media apps. Once an account is made and profile set with email address, you are ready to stream yourself live over the app. The style looks and has the feel of an Instagram or other photo sharing style apps. You can follow other people and be notified when they start a live stream. Once a live stream is started you can hear and see whatever they are streaming and are able to make comments, and share stickers at the bottom of the screen. They advertise pretty hard the fact that they want this to be the number streaming app for celebrities by advertising ‘Connect with the top stars and become the next big viral celebrity yourself’. The app also allows you to send hearts as people are streaming and also allows you to send comments that appear to float off your screen in attempt to get viewers of streamers attention. So basically this app is a mix of the more popular live streaming services in Facebook and Periscope. You can also search hashtags for different topics and search for more than 500,000 ways to explore the users. You can see who follows them or find new people to follow based off other users preferences. 


I gave this app a high threat level due to the app being able to love stream content. At the time of my download and review however I did not see any pornographic or x rated content from users. I am assuming the company puts filters on this type of content and monitors it closely. This app is however intended for adult use but with the growth of this style of live steaming style apps, I encourage you as parents to make sure what your children are streaming and why. You can look at your child’s account inside live.me either by following them with an account of your own or by seeing on their device they intend to stream from. Most importantly for this app or any live streaming app, monitor who they are following or who is following them.  As with anything live, you never know who might be on the other side of this app viewing. Remind your kids that once they put something out on an app or the internet, it is gone forever. People could use that against them. Stay safe with this one. Adults only for any live streaming content or monitored at every use by a parent. 

App description – star, purple, pink, tourquiose, purple star, pink star, purple and pink star, live, live streaming

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

Rabbit

 
App Review – Rabbit

Threat Level – Moderate 

Rabbit is described as the next generation conferencing app. The idea all began back in February of 2013 with an app for the Mac. A year later they launched their website and included the web based client. By 2015, Rabbit was being noticed and became one of the top video conferencing app while beginning to create their mobile app for phones and tablets. In October of 2015 the app went live on the Apple App Store and continues to pick up momentum. 

So what is Rabbit?
Rabbit is a chat room / video conferencing app that allows its users to share a website in their chat screen so that they can shop together or watch videos such as you tube or Netflix and basically any other website. It is a way to chat and share with the other person while you both viewing the same website in your chat room. Rabbit describes itself as a great way to hang out and watch a movie with your long distance partner. So how does this work? You could basically describe this as a texting app similar to KIK, wechat, or whatsapp with a web browser at the top of your screen. So there is chat room at the bottom and web browser at the top of your screen. It allows chatting while watching whatever is in the web browser at top of screen. You can share your “Rabbitcast” with a quick copy of a link and send to others. 

Once you download Rabbit, it requires you to created an account. Like most apps now you can either use your Facebook account to login or create a username and password with your email address. Once you fill out for login, or click login with Facebook then you are ready to invite others to chat. In my opinion, this app would be great if there was a long distance relationship and you wanted to watch a Netflix series together while chatting about it. As for your children, you would need to monitor the sharing very close. One thing I did notice, Rabbit does not filter adult sites. So anything that has a website can be shared and chatted about in chat room at the same time for multiple chatters to view.

I gave this app a moderate threat level due to the app being able to access any website to share. Monitor this one closely and ask your children what they are sharing while chatting if you allow them to use this app. 

App description – bunny, rabbit, orange, white, white rabbit, white bunny 

Meow Chat

  
App Review – Meow Chat

Threat Level – Very high


Meow Chat is an app developed by a company named Minus headquartered out of New York City. The company was backed by over 2 million dollars to launch a new style of mobile dating/chatting service which turned into Meow Chat. I did not find any other apps developed by this company which tells me they are working really hard to polish Meow Chat for its users.

So what is Meow Chat? The app Meow Chat describes itself as a fun way to chat and meet new friends. It does have a 17+ rating so they intend for adults to use this app and not children. On reviewing Meow Chat, it reminded me a lot of Tinder style layout with a mix of Grindr and Whatsapp (2 similar chat/dating applications ). Make no doubts about it, this app is a dating/hookup/chatting with strangers app. This app also allows instant chatting with strangers from around the world. With the similarities of Tinder, the main difference is Tinder seems to match more on location as Meow Chat uses interests in your profile to help match users. Now you see why children should not be using this app. Thinking of children and chatting with strangers does not go together.  Meow chat is available on all major mobile markets for download and has a very easy sign in process. You link up Meow Chat with your Facebook profile or create a login with an email address. You can then chat to existing friends by inviting them to join or find new chat partners from around the world. I did notice a lot of accounts while I was testing the app that were outside the United States. On setup it does send you a confirmation Thank you for signing up email. Be looking for this of you monitor your children’s email accounts. 

As soon as you login, clicking Random Chat throws you into a random chat room where you can talk publicly and get to know people for a private chat session or the explore feature will show you a map of other Meow Chat users around you or have similar interests as you. You can scroll through profiles that shows 3 of the users pictures along with a one line intro. I saw intros as innocent as Let’s Chat to the other end of spectrum saying What would you do with me. It doesn’t take long to see exploring profiles there are some that are explicit while others are safe. I had mentioned how this app looks and feels like Tinder. The way it shows profile pics for you to like or chat with is similar. Tinder focuses purely on hooking people up by location, whereas Meow Chat goes one step further and finds people with the same interests as you. 
Meow Chat claims to be the “fastest growing social network with millions of members from every country”. Its Google Play page states that it has been downloaded 10 million times on Android alone. It is free to download but you can purchase coin packs inside the application that allows you utilize advanced features inside the app. 

Meow Chat promotes mature conversations and warns users that their account will be suspended for inappropriate behaviour. You can report another user, bygo on their profile by tapping their image and tap ‘Report User’. You can also click ‘Block User’ to stop them from communicating with you. If you continue to have an issue There is also an email address to contact Meow Chat at hello@meow.me.
As I discussed earlier, this app is rated for adults and children should not be using this application. If you see this one on your child’s device, delete it immediately and find out who they have been chatting with. Children should not be using Meow Chat. 

App description – yellow cat, cat, cat chat, meow, cat, cat chat bubble, yellow chat bubble, bubble, yellow

Chance

 
 App Review – Chance

Threat Level – Very High

Chance is an app by a company called Just.me and is a chatting app designed to allow users to easily chat with complete strangers. We are seeing a growth in similar apps that you can download and chat with other people that you don’t know. The terrifying part of that is the ease of the app setup. Anyone can download the app for free and be chatting with a complete stranger in minutes. 

Chance app describes itself as an app for meeting new friends from around the world. It will introduce you to random strangers, you decide whether to chat with them or not. The app even encourages you to take a ‘Chance’. And you will be chatting with someone new. If you like them, you can get to know them even better and exchange pictures and texts. One of the developers mottos is ‘even your best friend was a stranger at some point’. 

As a parent, thinking about my child chatting with strangers from around the world is terrifying. Keep an eye out for this one because consenting adults should be the only ones using this. 

App description – blue, white, mask, white mask