Blink! - Secret Messaging

Common Sense Media says

"Private" sharing service may offer false sense of security.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The app is easy to grasp, with clear directions and notifications. 

Violence

Because the content is user generated, there's a chance that users will discuss violence.

Sex

Because the content is user generated, there's a chance that users will discuss sex.

Language

Because the content is user generated, there's a chance that users will use iffy language.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Because the content is user generated, there's a chance that users will discuss drugs, smoking, or alcohol.

Privacy & safety

The app, like others in this genre, allows users to share whatever they'd like, so it's possible that kids will reveal personal information. The app encourages (and drives) users to register an account using their Facebook information -- though they can also create an account with a working email address. The app also requests a mobile phone number and access to users' contact lists and photos. The link to Blink's privacy policy on its website wasn't working at the time of this review. In the app, users will see: "Your email & phone number are always private and only used to find your friends."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Blink! - Secret Messaging is a mobile messaging app that erases messages after a set period of time. Users can send text messages, pictures, video, audio, or sketches. While the images and messages do disappear, it's easy for user to take a screen shot of them and save them forever. Users can also chat 1:1 or in groups. Parents should be aware of the app, as it allows kids and teens to communicate covertly, with no evidence that the conversation ever took place. 

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

Users send what are advertised to be private, self-destructing messages in the form of texts, photos, videos, audio recordings, or sketches. Once opened, the app deletes them after a pre-determined period of time, but not before recipients can capture a screen shot of what was sent.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

While Blink! - Secret Messaging promotes itself as a way to send messages, photos, videos, and more to friends in a method that leaves no footprints, the app takes no precautions to prevent recipients from capturing images of what's sent -- a loophole that opens kids up to all sorts of potential bullying and blackmail. 

Like many of the Snapchat clones on the market, it advertises anonymity, but through Facebook integration and a mandatory registration process that requires, at the least, a functioning email, it's lacking in that as well. The one thing the app has going for it is the variety of different content types it supports -- letting those who choose to use it communicate in whatever method they'd like. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the importance of privacy, especially when you're young. 

  • Families can also discuss age-appropriate ways to meet people. 

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:December 12, 2013
Category:Social Networking
Size:13.50 MB
Publisher:Meh Labs
Version:2.0.2
Minimum software requirements:iOS 7.0 or later; Android 4.0 and up

This review of Blink! - Secret Messaging was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written byKevin Stephens April 2, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

From the CEO of Blink...

I'm Kevin Stephens, co-founder and CEO of Blink. I'd like to correct a number of misunderstandings in this review. First, our goal is to allow people to be themselves, as honest and spontaneous as they want. That means protecting everyone -- including and especially teens -- from the permanent record. The Internet is written in ink, and when teens use apps like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, they often make statements that they regret years later, such as when seeking admission to a college or trying to find a job. Conversations that we have in person are by nature private and ephemeral. Why is it that when we move our conversation to a mobile device, we give up that privacy and ephemerality? We want to bring the same privacy and ephemerality that you take for granted in the real world to your mobile device. That's a very good thing for teens, who typically have not yet mastered their "filter." Many of the statements in the above review are unfortunately misleading or are flat out false. For example, if a user voluntarily chooses to register using Facebook, we store *only* their name and email address. Nothing more. We use Facebook to connect people to Facebook friends, not to mine data, as this review implies. We specifically do not offer screenshot detection because it gives users a false sense of security. Even our competitors call screenshot detection "a gimmick." The parents we spoke with unanimously supported this decision. Further, most messaging apps require users to use their phone numbers as their identity within the app. We allow users to choose their own ID as their identity, thereby ensuring your phone number stays private. That means that when you add a friend, you do not need to give out your phone number. I'd be happy to answer questions about how the app handles user data and privacy, and I encourage the reviewer and the team at Common Sense Media to contact me directly and I'll be more than happy to answer any other questions about our product. We set out from day 1 to build an app that is the most private means of communicating online, and we've given our users a substantial number of tools to enable that. Please feel free to email me: kevin (at) blinkapp.co. (That's .co, not .com.) Thanks! Kevin Stephens Co-founder & CEO, Blink
What other families should know
Easy to play/use

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential School Tools