HOOKED - chat stories

App review by
Galen McQuillen, Common Sense Media
HOOKED - chat stories App Poster Image
Lackluster text-message stories feature lots of violence.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to write in a new way and read some others' original works; however, it's not a great writing tool, and the user-generated content isn't that strong. While it likely will be a hit with kids who crave quick drama in the fraught format of text messages and might inspire a few to write their own stories, the content isn't the kind of quality writing you want beginning writers (or readers) to emulate. Though HOOKED - chat stories might entice some reluctant writers to experiment, its poor navigation and subpar content make it more of a last resort than a first choice.

Ease of Play

Stories show up frustratingly slowly, and interface is full of hidden or tiny, overly sensitive buttons with no tutorial or help section. 

Violence

Many stories graphically describe violent acts such as assault, murder, torture, rape, or otherwise scary situations. Violence includes guns, knives, baseball bats, punches, and much more, but all in text form.

Sex

Some stories graphically describe sexual acts including intercourse, masturbation, BDSM, rape, and more. Others include sexy banter between characters including lurid descriptions of body parts and revealing clothing. 

Language

Almost every story includes at least one instance of "f--k" or "s--t," with some stories featuring very large amounts of explicit language. There are examples of almost every explicit word across the content library. 

Consumerism

Description on the iTunes store and user reviews mention a subscription plan, which lets users read more than a limited number of stories each day. No pay wall during testing, but the developer might include it at a later time. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Stories often mention drug and alcohol use, often glorifying it or representing it in a casual, positive context. Users are often suggested to be minors. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that HOOKED - chat stories is a "Twitter for fiction," letting users read short stories written and displayed as text message conversations. Almost every story features scary situations, violence, sex, and drug use, all in very contrived narratives designed to thrill readers. Users can sign in with Facebook to write and submit their own stories or like and comment on others. Take a look at the app's privacy policy for information on the kinds of data collected and stored by the developer. 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byHooked sucks July 11, 2019

Disappointment

Waiting 15minutes just to watch three minutes more of the scene is ridiculous. To even think that the 7 day trial is good but then you have to cancel everything... Continue reading
Adult Written bySwettiepie12345 October 6, 2018

Robbers!

They stole my money from me when they said a 7 week FREE trial it asked if it wanted me to pay for more weeks and i said no then in took $96.00 US from my bank... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byLilStunned April 27, 2018

Horrible!! Just Terrible

It Promotes Inappropriate items, such as violence and Sex. It also makes you pay or wait all day to watch another part of a story.
Teen, 13 years old Written byDeepFriedTwinkie April 29, 2020

Oop

Ive used this app since 4th grade. (2 years) and the stories get a little bit repetitive, I didnt look at sexual stories but more horror stories since ive been... Continue reading

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?

App details

  • 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

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