App review by Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Huddle. Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 18+

Privacy, safety, validity concerns in video/chat support.

Parents say

age 18+

Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+

Based on 1 review

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Community Reviews

age 18+

WARNING: suicidal or depressed children or adults should not use this app without the supervision of a parent or mental health professional

I am currently in a surreal conversation about safety with a Huddle Customer Service representative whom I suspect is a bot and not a human being. My issue is that within hours of joining this site for personal use, I found myself in a nasty comment row about how not to interact with a person who is currently suicidal. There was no automatic response from Huddle at the time or since. I had to figure out how to contact customer service with no clues how to even find them, thanks to the app's streamlined appearance that includes almost no menu. Once I did figure out how to contact customer support, after exhausting a way to read a FAQ or report a concern or safety issue, I sent a message about being alarmed that those in imminent danger had no way to seek out help on the website. No suggestions or links to direct anyone suicidal or in danger. No evidence that despite advertising, this was or wasn't an app designed to be used as a health tool. No indication there were any health professionals involved in any part of the site at all. Then the responses finally started hours later. I was informed that my safety concerns fell under their safety policy of Zero Tolerance for Bullying. The discussion just got worse and worse. No, a suicidal teen is not a bully or being bullied. No, pointing out that "normal users" were not equipped to help the suicidal was not a good choice of phrase. No, I don't feel safe knowing I can report... myself (???) if I am suicidal right now. No, there were no safeguards in place to distance the vulnerable from the unmoderated masses. The only mention of my insistence that mental health professionals needed to be involved somehow in the design or function of the app was to thank me for my concern. I was assured that if a user was suicidal, Huddle would provide contact information to the user for trained support specialists not part of Huddle. With no indication of how this information could possibly be provided if a suicidal person did not use the system to flag someone's content as "inappropriate". Oh yes, there was no irony noted or apology given for implying that someone seeking help for active suicidal thoughts was committing inappropriate behavior, no matter the different ways I tried to point this out. I have felt lost, confused, bewildered, offended, marginalized, suicidal, and enraged over the course of our conversation these past 3-4 days. Yes, I am still in the middle of conversing with this "person", and have yet to be given any information about contacting a trained medical professional to help me not commit suicide. Did I mention that the originally argument that prompted this was when I tried to inform a self-identified teenage minor child that yelling at a suicidal person was not a good way to help them?

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