The S.M.A.R.T Initiative — Social Media Awareness and Responsibility Training

Hello! Thank you for stopping by my S.M.A.R.T. Initiative – Social Media Awareness and Responsibility Training! Just a little corner of the world wide web where you’ll find various tools, links and app reviews concerning the online safety of our children.

Now is the time to get Primed rather than remain Paranoid; where Concern is Appraised!

Reviews
* description of apps, explanation of uses, safety precautions, and age appropriateness

Ranking
* apps are categorized on a Scale; this is an opinion gauge – a Threat Level I personally & strongly trust. The Threat Levels begin at very low (fairly safe when used responsible) and end at very high (very dangerous, particularly for children)

Search a specific app or browse a previous review – just enter the title of the app in the search bar.  The search… bar is located on the right-hand side just down the page a bit – on this homepage, just scroll down and you’ll run right into it

Did you search for a specific app and you cannot find it here on S.M.A.R.T? No problem; send me a request!  Scroll to the very top of this page & click on, “Request app Review!”  Within 24 hours; I will research the app, have it ranked, and a breakdown will be posted right back here from your submission! I take great pride in assisting you with the education of Social Media with regards to your children.
Parents,  Social Media is not a fad; it is a change in the way we communicate.  Learn this social communication for the safety of our children.

Interested in a free live presentation where I discuss the 4-step process of keeping your children safe on social media?   Just scroll back up to the top of the page and click on “Upcoming Presentations,” where you will find a calendar of previously scheduled events! Hope to see ya soon!

Do you know… what they’re downloading… I do!

Roblox

  
App Review – Roblox
Threat Level – Low

Roblox is a game application developed by a company called Roblox Corporation. They are only working on this gaming app at the moment. 

Roblox takes a step towards the ever growing community of mixing social media and video games. Video games has had a lot of social interaction ever since I was a kid.  However, back then we would have to go to each other’s houses and play 2 player mode. I remember when Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64 came out with 4 player multiplayer. We were absolutely thrilled. Wow have times changed. With the growth of the Internet, faster connection speeds and mobile gaming and not to mention all gaming consoles connecting to the Internet, social gaming is just the ‘norm’ now. 

I received an email about Roblox from a parent with the curious 9-10 year old wanting to play it because their friends are. As a parent of four, we hear that a lot. I had never heard of Roblox so I was happy to help out, download the game, and give it a review. 

Let’s start out with, What is Roblox?

Roblox is what we like to call a digital sandbox. Roblox is an app available for free on all the major app stores and is a video game with a social media tie. When you launch the app, it will give you the option to just play or to login and connect to play the game. Let’s start with the ‘just play’ feature. This doesn’t require any setup. When you select this option you are then sent to the select a game screen. The way this app works is it lets the players make their own games with a cookie cutter type programming. So you will start to see games that you can play inside the app developed by the players themselves,  categorized by style and genre.  Technically this not just one game, but hundreds of games inside one app.   This is a very neat concept and to be honest, I have already started creating one just for the fun of it (to create a game for Roblox however you will need to download the Roblox Creator app). The games that other users have designed for the app could be a little suggestive with Zombies or Cops vs Robbers style games, but I didn’t see anything that was really bad that I wouldn’t want my kids to see. The company does an excellent job in filtering the games and they even have a parents menu that answers all your questions.

If you select the option to create an account with a username, then you can even vote on the games you like and become more connected with forums and chats.  To create a user account, it does require and email address, username (selected by yourself), sex and age questions. Once created it will send a confirmation email. 

There is a chat feature inside the game that has different levels and can be controlled in settings. There are 2 chat modes. Under 13 and over 13.  Of course this is decided on setup when they enter birthday, but can be changed in settings. The under 13 chat words have to be selected from a list for comments verses the over 13 chat which is open. Roblox does however moderate all comments and filters comments that are innapropriate. 

Roblox offers many different games once you launch the app to choose from that are all original and made by other Roblox users. This gives the app a new approach on giving players control. 

I gave the app a low threat level and with proper moderation, this should be safe for players of all ages. The moderation by the company and their dedication to Internet safety is excellent. Thumbs up to Roblox.

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

Jiggler

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App Review -Jiggler

Threat Level – Very High

Jiggler is an adults only app made by a company called Red Light Center. Red Light Center is known for their adult virtual worlds online, where they market to adults on a way to explore your deepest sexual fantasies and desires. This is Red Light Centers first app on the market. Due to this app having naked photos (computer generated) I am confident the Apple Store rejected it on their App Store, but Android welcomed it. This is an Android only app for the time being. They would have to really tone this one way down and keep the clothes of the models to ever be approved through Apples App Store.

So what is Jiggler? Jiggler is an app described as a way to have a giggle while you jiggle. You create a female or male avatar with your choice of race. After you select your race and sex, you customize your character with the size of private parts that you wish them to have. You can also select some clothing if you wish.

Once you have your avatar created, you can shake your device to make your avatar giggle and dance to music. This app has no other purpose other than making naked or clothed avatars to dance. This app is not meant for children, and should not be an app that your child has on his or her device.

app description – red, circles, x, red app, c, c, breast icon, chest, breast, chest,

Group Me

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App Review – Group Me
Threat Level – Low

Group me is a free text messaging app (offers in app purchases for emojis) made by a company called Mindless Dribble Inc. Group Me is becoming more and more popular and has been popping up on kids phones. I know this because over the past couple days, I have received several emails asking about the app.

Group me should be classified in the data texting apps like kik, what’s app and any other texting app that uses data instead of cell service. The difference is the Group me app is designed for Groups. It is easily configured by setting up a free account and creating groups for everyone to see messages in after a
User sends out a message on it. You can share photos, videos emojis and all the other things that you can do with common text messaging apps. Group me just makes it easier to set up and send to a group. You can download the group me app on any platform from IOS to Android and start using. Another feature group me adds is the ability to have a non app user join the conversation. If you have a friend that does not have a smart phone, but can send SMS messages, they can still be part of the group. There is also a web client that allows access as well. Group me advertises and being the best way to group text your friends, co workers and more for free.

Just like any texting app, I recommend parents to know who their children are texting. If you find this all on your child’s device, make sure it is being used for the right purpose. You can assure that there are group text being sent or they would not have a reason to use the app. Be aware of who is in their texting groups and monitor the content if need be on their group topics.

I have seen this app being used more innocently by sporting teams or youth groups, but as a parent you should know the groups that your child are chatting in. Treat this as you would any text messaging app.

App description – blue, white, hashtag, smiley face, face, smile, blue white face

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

Gogii Games

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Website Review – Gogii Games
http://www.gogiigames.com

Threat Level – Very Low

Gogii games is a website that offers several different formats for downloadable video games. Gogii games is based out of Canada and is a Canadian video game developer and publisher. They are based out of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. Gogii games is a small company with 21 employees.

Gogii game develops mainly hidden object games for the PC or Mac and then converted to mobile gaming on Android, IOS and even windows mobile. From their website, you can view what games they have currently launched and what devices they offer them on. The newest venture is Archie Riverdale Rescue looks to be one of their first attempts at mobile gaming where you can purchase more items inside the game. This game looks to be different than their normal hidden object style.

As for the social side of site and Gogii games, there isn’t much. The only links from site are the links to their own twitter feeds and Facebook feeds, but they do have one Social Tab. Under the social tab, is a free hidden object game that can be played online and through Facebook to involve all your Facebook friends. The Facebook game is called ‘The new Hidden Object Show’ . This game is designed for the social side and for Facebook. You can compete with friends, play 6 different style games as you find hidden objects. The theme is Carnival style and you can win tickets to buy new scenes, and in game prizes. You can also post your scores and brag to your Facebook friends. You can see Facebook leaderboards and compete with friends. The interaction in the social side is all through Facebook. There is no in game chat or picture sharing through the game.

I gave this website a Very Low Threat level on the social aspect if your children are playing games on it or through it.

Tags – Gogii, online games, hidden object games, mmo