A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
HOOKED - CHAT STORIES is an app that lets users read stories written in the fom of text-message conversations, similar to other popular works such as ttfn: The Internet Girls, Book 2. Each story is shown as a series of chat lines, and users tap "next" to read through it one at a time. The app features a Netflix-style category browser for stories, or users can simply read the next story that randomly appears Snapchat-style once they finish another. Signing in via Facebook lets users like, share, and comment on stories or write their own to directly share with friends or submit for publication.
Is it any good?
The concept is fun and fascinating, but clear navigation is lacking, there are no filters, and almost all the stories rely heavily on clichéd formulas, graphic violence, and cliffhanger endings. Stories come across as intentionally manipulative, like scary campfire stories. Also, the comments are often downright hostile or no more constructive than "Ooh, nice!" or "This sucks," making it a poor choice for beginning writers to share their work. Aside from the content itself, the app's navigation and functionality are confusing, and there's no tutorial or guidance about how to find what you're looking for. At the time of review, it appears that all content is free, but the app store stays there's a subscription plan, so users may have to pay for content. While it has potential to be an interesting tool for teens to explore a unique type of writing, there are far better examples of text-/chat-style writing out there for young readers and even far better bite-sized cheap thrills for suspense and horror fans.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence, sex, drug use, and scary situations in the media (and in campfire-style storytelling), along with age-appropriateness for that kind of content.
Families also can talk about how text messages are a very limited form of communication, often creating drama by their very nature.
Discuss creating original content and what kinds of communities might support and nurture developing writers. How can we take criticism in stride and separate fair critiques from unfair or mean-spirited ones?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Language & Reading: storytelling
- Skills: Creativity: making new creations, producing new content
Communication: multiple forms of expression
- Price: Free to try
- Pricing structure: Free to try ($2.99/week, $7.99/month, or $39.99/year)
- Release date: April 15, 2016
- Category: Books
- Size: 25.00 MB
- Version: 2.1
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later
- Last updated: February 15, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love creative writing
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.