Background Check App

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Background Check App App Poster Image
Easy way to dig up loads of personal info on almost anyone.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The basic search technique is easy, but you'll need to know a little bit about the person you're looking for to ensure you select the right person from the often copious results. 

Violence
Sex

There is no sex, though the app will alert you to people who have sex offender histories. 

Language
Consumerism

The app allows users one free search per month. Others are paid for via in-app purchases, with the prices fluctuating extensively depending on what specials the site is offering (they range from 99 cents to $19.99). 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Background Check App is a tool that lets users find out significant amounts of personal information on just about anyone. Users can find addresses, age, relatives, criminal records, and properties owned -- as well as search for the any photos, videos, blogs, and social networks that person has posted online. Searching is fairly easy, though the information isn't 100 percent reliable. Users get one free search per month, but have to pay for others. The price for a search fluctuates -- from 99-cent specials to $19.99 per check at times. 

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Is it any good?

The privacy debate that springs up around BACKGROUND CHECK APP is an extensive one -- but ultimately a useless one. While many object to how easy it now is for someone to learn what can be very private details of your life, the fact of the matter is the information has been available online for a long time. And it was inevitable that it would make its way to the mobile platform. That said, this app (from BeenVerified.com, which provides an identical service on the web) can sometimes dig deeper than you'd like it to -- listing the names of relatives (though, apparently, not underage children) as well as home addresses and criminal records, along with your entire online footprint, including photos, videos, blogs, etc. The scary part is: The information isn't always accurate, which can create a false impression that sometimes is unjustified. 

There's certainly a curiosity factor that goes with this sort of app, but it's not something you want in a child's hand. The reliability questions that go with the data could lead them to gossip about a teacher or friend's parents having a criminal record, when it was, in fact, someone with a similar name. The app could, however, be a good way to show children that they can always be held accountable for their past -- and that they should think twice (or even three times) before posting something online, since someone can always see it. 

App details

For kids who love researching things and people

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