A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Skout is a flirting app used to meet and chat with new people. Based on the age entered at registration, teens and adults are assigned to different groups, but ages aren't verified. Once teens turn 18, they're automatically moved into the adult group, but it's easy to enter a false birthday at registration and pose as either an adult or a teen. In 2012, the teen app was briefly suspended to tighten safety protocols. As a result, a teen's exact location isn't revealed, only a general region, and posts are now more closely monitored. Also, teens can't send pictures in private messages. They can earn points for using the app and responding to ads. Then they can redeem points to reveal the profiles of users who've "checked" them out or to access users in other geographic areas. Posts include plenty of profanity and suggestive pictures.
What's it about?
When using the dating app SKOUT, teens who set up an account can then view other teens, specifying an interest in male, female, or both. They can post to the buzz feed, comment on others' posts, add pictures, and private-message others. They'll get notifications when other teens near their geographic area join, and they can search other areas by cashing in points. They receive notification when someone "checks" them out but must pay points to see who it was. Teens earn points through activity -- creating a profile, uploading pics, and logging on -- or by downloading advertised apps.
Is it any good?
Compared to some social media targeting teens, Skout is more PG-13 than NC-17, probably due to increased moderation. Still, it's not perfectly safe, and parents and teens might want to communicate about the potential dangers of any meet-up app. The developer's blog indicates that newer safety measures implemented in 2012 would have required logging in through Facebook to provide a social verification of age, but that isn't the case. The posts, though peppered with harsh language, are mostly tame, flirtatious, and complimentary. And note that since the teen portion of Skout is intended to be teen-only, parents don't have the option of following their kids and seeing what they or their friends are posting.
Talk to your kids about ...
For kids who love social networking
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