Houseparty - Group Video Chat

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Houseparty - Group Video Chat App Poster Image
Popular with kids
Virtual video hangouts have potential pitfalls.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 15 reviews

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

Very easy to use. Just turn it on and you're broadcasting. 

Violence

No violence in app, but users could generate violent content.

Sex

No sex in app, but users could generate sexual content.

Language

No profanity in app, but users could generate profane content.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

No substance use in app, but users could generate substance-abuse content.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Houseparty - Group Video Chat is a video-focused social media app. Friends (and friends of friends) can communicate with each other via live video and texts. Because there's no screening and the video is live, there's always the possibility of inappropriate content for kids, but that will largely depend on the friends who are communicating. The biggest risks are communicating with people you don't know well, pictures and screenshots getting shared around, and spending lots of time in virtual hangouts. Parents should also note that users can send links to their profiles on the app via a text message to whomever they want, and it's possible to take a screenshot -- even of private groups -- and share it. NOTE: In times of social isolation, kids can use an older family member's Houseparty account to connect with friends and family with parental supervision. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJDawn8 April 25, 2019

Not for young children!

I am not a parent, but a 5th grade teacher. I have seen multiple serious issues arise because of this app. In my experience children use this app to say things... Continue reading
Parent Written byChristi F. April 22, 2018

DRAMA

As a mother of middle school girls I belive this app should be limited to a more mature audience. This app gave these girls that are going through changes tha... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byTherealreweiwer March 24, 2019

Great

I think its a good idea to let your child have it atleast for a while and then decide for yourself it’s very secure and they can control who they talk to so try... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 12, 2018

A bit unsafe for kids

I am a 12 yr old and I got houseparty a couple months ago when my friends told me I should get it so we can all talk together. I love the app, it is really cool... Continue reading

What's it about?

HOUSEPARTY - GROUP VIDEO CHAT users can communicate with each other through live video in groups of two to eight people. Simply log onto the app and you'll instantly be connected with any friends who are using it at the same time. With one click you can join them or, if they're already in a chat, you can join that conversation as well. If you want a more private chat, you can "lock" the room so others can't join. When a person who is not your direct friend enters the chat, an alert is shown, giving you the chance to exit the conversation if you'd like -- or meet someone new. Users can share photos via the app, and a messenger feature lets them share their profile with others, allowing them to make new friends. Push notifications are sent to friends when you open the app. It's also possible for users to take screenshots while in a group chat and share them to social media.

Is it any good?

If teens only use this app with friends, there's little risk (beyond a time-suck), but inviting friends of friends and being able to share screenshots makes it potentially risky. Houseparty - Group Video Chat is like a party line from the olden days of rotary phones. It allows an easily accessible live conversation between friends with a friendly interface. While there are no ways to moderate the conversations, the alert that a stranger is entering the room is a notable safety feature for younger kids since they can exit a conversation if someone they don't know -- or don't like -- joins. So, though it does have some cool features that limit a teen's contact with strangers, parents may want to go over the features and make sure teens know that screenshots are possible, even in locked groups. When used only with friends, the biggest risk is spending too much time in the app. But it's easy to use with people you don't know if your friend invites someone. Even though teens get a notification that someone they don't know is joining, it doesn't mean they'll leave the conversation -- and then you don't know who they're talking to. The features can also be twisted, so that teens can target each other, lock each other out of groups, or take embarrassing screenshots to share on social media. Though not a completely Wild West like some other video chat apps, it's still best to monitor your teen's use.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what's appropriate to discuss on social media and in public. When participating in a chat in Houseparty - Group Video Chat, what are some ground rules for behavior?

  • Talk about using video chat with people you know vs. those you don't know very well. Since friends of friends can hop on a video chat, it's important to talk about the "lock the room" feature and topics you might share with good friends vs. acquaintances.

App details

For kids who love social networking and safe chatting

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