Down to Lunch

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Down to Lunch App Poster Image
Buggy social scheduling OK, aimed at college kids.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Created for entertainment and not intended for learning.

Ease of Play

What works is easy to use, but some elements don't function.

Violence

User-generated posts can contain iffy content, but app doesn't generate content.

Sex

User-generated posts can contain iffy content, but app doesn't generate content.

Language

User-generated posts can contain iffy content, but app doesn't generate content.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Premade selections include references to drinking and smoking pot, especially in the "Beer Pong" and "Blaze" categories. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Down to Lunch is a social-networking app meant for college-age kids. Its purpose is to pave the way to easier and more frequent real-world social interactions through simple invite, chat, and mapping functions, and it does this by accessing users' cell phone contact lists. Using the app requires registering and verifying your cell phone number, and the map feature enables users to "see" when other DTL users are nearby to customize invite lists. Premade selections include adult activities such as Happy Hour, Bars, Beer Pong, Hot Tub, and Blaze (which involves smoking marijuana). Read the app's privacy policy to find out more about the types of information collected and shared.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

DOWN TO LUNCH is a simple social-networking app that gives you a quick way to get together with friends. Its group, invite, chat, and map functions make it easy to coordinate spontaneous meet-ups by drawing upon your cell phone contact list and your contacts' geographic locations. The app lets you choose from among premade categories such as "Down to Coffee" or "Down to Beer Pong," or you can create your own. You also can create custom groups and urge friends to download the app via Facebook, messaging, and email.

Is it any good?

The app has passable functionality but lacks the sophistication of a true scheduling or chat app and has features that are meant for older teens and adults. It's definitely aimed at a very specific demographic -- college kids -- to recreate the "dorm room experience" that lets friends in close proximity spontaneously socialize. Though this has made the app explode across college campuses (and could be equally effective among high school kids), it makes it impractical for adult users. In light of that, it's odd that many of its built-in meet-up options involve adult activities such as going to bars. The app's chat and map functions work pretty well, but bugs prevent it from consistently doing simple things like adding a profile picture or connecting to Facebook. It's just not practical or fun to use unless everyone you know is using it. Also, it contains a half-hearted reward system that gives you points for pestering people to download the app but doesn't say what those points are for. Parents might also be concerned about the app collecting contact and location info. Overall, Down to Lunch is just what its creators have said it is in interviews: a quickly created, no-frills scheduling tool made by two guys in a single day that's best for college kids and adults.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about safe usage of meet-up apps like Down to Lunch. If a contact you don't know very well is asking to hang out, under what circumstances would it be safer?

  • Discuss how much personal information should be shared via social networks. What's the danger in broadcasting your cell phone number?

  • Think about how social networking affects time in-person. Do you spend more time with your friends online than you do face-to-face?

App details

For kids who love social networking

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