Clips

App Review – Clips


Threat Level – Very Low

The app Clips is Apples newest app available on the App Store. Clips app basically is named after the word Video Clips because that is literally all you do with it. Edit videos. 

In the world of Snapchat, FB messenger and other social media outlets where pictures and videos are being shared, I feel Apple needed to be involved without taking on the social media side to those apps. So out of no where the Clips app launched. I was kind of confused at first because Apple already has an app called iMovie that allows just about any editing option for pictures and video that can be offered but then I understood what they were going for which I’ll explain shortly. 

The Clips app was the first app I have seen that requires you to be on the newest version of IOS 10.3.1. When I went to download the app, a prompt immediately popped up that did not allow me to download the app without updating to newest IOS. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute. How many times do you click the later button as your phone asks you to update, even though they’re security updates. So the skinny on this newest Apple app is if you want Clips, you must update. Once the update is installed and you are ready to launch Clips, you will see a pretty basic, simple to use interface attached to a video editing app. Clips allows you to take videos or select videos to throw some editing towards. Add captions? Sure .. Add stickers? sure. Would you like to use live dictation to put text over top of your videos? You can do that too. 

So now to the rating and should you let your children use Clips app. I have it a very low threat level because that is my lowest rating. This app doesn’t have any features that is going to jeopardize safety or security of device and is really easy to use. This app allows only local editing and the share features have to be shared in other apps. So basically this app is just an editing app for your videos and once your done you can save away to your device to pull up in other apps. The export video after edit is your normal selections, device, camera iCloud Drive etc. In a long list of picture editing apps, this is Apples answer to video editing with no new social media ties. 

Description Keywords – blue, apple, video, camera, blue camera, video editing, edit, video, blue and white, blue, light blue

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 

VSCO

  

App review- VSCO

Threat Level- Moderate
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VSCO is an app developed by a company called Visual Supply Company. It appears this is the only app they currently have running actively on the Apple IOS App Store and Google Play store. They describe their self named app VSCO as the standard of mobile photography. So you are probably asking yourself, what is a picture editing app doing on a social media app review site. Let me explain.

Sometimes apps you find on your child’s devices will be photo or video editing apps. Kids love adding filters to their photos, effects or stickers to their photos before posting them to their favorite social media apps such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. We have seen over the years with Instagram and Snapchat the addition of filters inside the app so that the user does not need to use other apps on their phone to add or change the photo such as VSCO offers. This is a popular trend. However we cannot forget about those stand alone apps such as VSCO that have social ties to them. There are other popular photo sharing sites or apps such as photobucket and Imgur, but they offer storage for pics more than many editing features. 

VSCO is a free app available on mobile markets that takes photo editing and storage to the next level. You can identify apps that have social ties versus the ones that don’t usually by the need to create an account when you first launch them. As you will see in VSCO, you are encouraged to login before you use editing features. The wording of this app to encourage an account when you first open it states- 

‘Create and publish your grid, journal and collection- find and follow other creatives in our community.’

This login process that is encouraged and sometimes required on some apps is because they want to give you a great photo editing experience, but want you to save your account online for other people to view. They offer free storage for these photos, but your children need to make sure these pictures are not shared as public. The features inside the app allow for excellent photo editing, exploring other photo editors and the ability to share and follow other people that use VSCO, just make sure they are not sharing public photos of themselves if you find the app on your child’s device. 
Each VSCO account has a link to the users page where all their photos can be shared and viewed. You will see sometimes on Twitter profiles or Instagram profiles a link to the users VSCO account. You will recognize it as a link similar to this 

VSCO.co/aayarnell 

Of course this is not an my actual VSCO account, but an example of what you will see in users social media profiles linking their VSCO account. I have seen Instagram accounts where the user has done great job on locking their account down to only friends being approved being able to see their photos and then having a link to their VSCO account on their profile page being wide open with hundreds of public pictures just a click away without any approvals. This is what you must watch for and look at on your child’s account. 

I gave this app a moderate threat level due to the social ties of this app. Make sure your child’s VSCO account is not wide open for anyone to pull their photos online. All you have to do is pull up their VSCO account online or follow their link if they have one in their other social media profile pages to see if you can openly view their photos. Openly discuss this app with them and make sure they understand what photos they are sharing and how they are doing it before they get to involved with using this photo editing, social media app. This is a great app for editing, but make sure the social side of sharing is locked. I have seen on several accounts, the user not knowing the account is locked down and it being an innocent error, but innocent errors could lead to your child’s pics being open on the Internet. We do not want our children’s pictures shared publicly. 

App description – white, white app with black lines, graph, black squiggly marks, atom, black lines white background

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

Secret

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App review – Secret
Threat Level – Very High

Secret is a free app available on the IOS and Play store. The app is described as a place for you speak freely without judgement. With that last sentence, you can see why I gave this app a high threat level for your children.

You start Secret and the tutorial walks you through the step by step process of setting up your anonymous account. That means, well… You don’t have to do anything. Once you launch the app it is ready to roll.

The basic concept of the app is you are telling secrets to strangers. You don’t know them, and they do not know you. That is the last thing I want my children doing. The app appears basic with pictures and text. When you make a post, you select a picture or upload your own as a background for your “secret”. The secrets being shared are usually one or two line typed text messages with different font selections.

As I was browsing the app I saw posts that were saying things like “Me and my mom do drugs together” and “I have a porn addiction” also people had shared updates like “calm down and enjoy life” and other G rated quotes. During my brief session of using the app, I saw about half the secrets posted that I would NOT want my kids reading. When people make a post, it does not know who you are and does not associate a profile picture or any profile to the post (known as a secret). Secret does allow people to comment on your secret or give it a “like”. People can view comments of the secret without posting or clicking on a like. If a secret is liked, it shows people around you (GPS) or friends that you have selectively decided to share your secret with what that post is and allows them the opportunity to like it or comment on it. When you make a comment, the app associates a default picture with your comment, but just for that thread. This allows people to know who is posting numerous comments on a thread. This generic photo changes though if you go to comment on another secret.

Another thing that was concerning on this app was posts that I felt kids were making being inquisitive. I saw a couple secrets asking about sexual oriented questions. The comments were just as graphic as the secret shared. These were obviously posts that I would not like my kids reading, liking or commenting on.

This app is one to put on your watch list. If you see this app pop up on your child’s download list, remove it quickly. This app should be for adults only.

App description – fox white black fox face animal cat wolf

Cyber Dust

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App Review – Cyber Dust

Threat Level – High

Welcome to the World of Dusting.

When you hear your children talking about dusting, it may be referring to a new growing in popularity app called Cyber Dust. Cyber Dust is an app designed and developed by a company named Mention Mobile. This is Mention Mobiles first venture into the world of social media/texting apps. This app is another in a long line of self destructing apps for the IOS market and in the future Android and Windows mobile.

Snapchat made self destructing photo sharing apps popular and started a trend of deleting after you send. The difference with Cyber Dust is that it is not just a self destructing picture sharing application, but it self destructs everything from text messages to pictures. Cyber Dust describes itself in the description as “Every spoken word isn’t recorded, why should your texts be?” Also, it states Have fun and private messages without worry. These are not things I encourage my 12 year olds to be doing. Do you want a child to feel “comfortable” knowing their messages would delete? Why would they need a feature such as that? Some other features inside app allows sharing of sticker packs, screen shot detection alert (allows you to notify sender that you took a screen shot of that alleged deleted text) and also send and received notifications. Future plans hint of group options and also video.

When you search this app in the IOS App Store, you will see it has a 12+ Restriction. I’m not sure I would want my 12 year old having conversations, texts or sharing pictures that automatically delete. Like I mentioned earlier, why would they need that? If they are using, you better ask them that question.

Basically, after you download the app and get your account setup with basic information that you see in most apps, name, email address and bio, then you are ready to roll. Your username allows you to invite others to your messages or shares. Now you are ready to send text messages, share pics all knowing that everything deletes after your recipient receives the message.

I have given this a threat level of high for one simple reason, Why do they need to delete what they text? Monitor this app closely if you allow your child to use, and be sure to look at who they are communicating inside of the app. This could get dangerous if strangers find their way into your child’s messaging feeds.

App Description – chat bubble, red, yellow, pixelating, small boxes, round, pink, red, yellow