A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
What's it about?
GENIES - CLONE YOURSELF is an avatar-creating app designed to be used in conjunction with other popular social media apps. Users start by aligning themselves with one of three preset user "types": Each type is characterized by social media platform preferences, news sources, and other media selections. Then create your own avatar using a wide array of customizable hair, face, and clothing options. Once their avatar is created, users must confirm they have an Instagram account, provide their Instagram handle, and submit their avatar for review by the Genies development team. Users then have to wait either minutes or days to be approved, depending on how "influential" the team decides they are.
Is it any good?
Most apps are happy to have as many users as possible; this one alienates them from the start by making them undergo a "cool kids" review process before letting them in. The first round of exclusion begins when the app demands you have an Instagram account; the second comes when you're told you won't be allowed in unless your Instagram proves you're the kind of user the app wants. If you're lucky enough to be let through the virtual velvet ropes, you're granted the dubious honor of swiping through a handful of hand-picked news items (chosen once a day according to the interests you selected upon registering) and sharing them on other social media platforms. If your friends are cool enough to gain approval, their avatars can join yours in silly animations related to your daily news items. If they don't make the cut, you can always hang with pre-made avatars of people like Jesus, Santa Claus, and Donald Trump. Other than creating yet another bobble-headed avatar, the point of Genies - Clone Yourself seems to be getting kids and millennials to read more news. Too bad they're not allowed to use the app unless Genies Inc. decides they're important enough to do so.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how kids represent themselves online. Is it OK to create an online alter ego with Genies - Clone Yourself?
Talk about how apps track your online activity. How much should an app know about you? What does it mean when they share information with third parties?
Discuss why an app would approve some users and not others. What is their criteria? Why?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love social networking
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.