InCrowd

Common Sense Media says

Location-sharing app based on popularity; not for kids.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Checking in at locations is quite easy -- as is interacting with friends.

Violence

You're able to "Drop Kick" other players to lower their popularity -- although there's no animation or other visual cues that accompany this action.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

The app itself doesn't have any offensive language, but users are able to receive messages from others and read comments about venues posted by strangers -- which could sometimes contain profanity.

Consumerism

While the app is free, it takes "energy" to boost or sap someone's popularity ranking. While long-term playing earns energy, players can also purchase 15 energy credits for $.99 -- which is how the app makes money. Power users will likely buy these credits frequently. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Users can check into bars or other adult-oriented businesses. Comments might include references to drinking, etc.

Privacy & safety

Not very private. InCrowd notifies your entire Facebook collection of friends of your current location every time you check in unless you opt out of posting to your Facebook wall by unclicking the Facebook icon in the upper left corner of the app's check-in screen. If Facebook's privacy settings aren't configured appropriately, the app can notify the world at large exactly where users are. Users can opt-in to "private" mode while using the app, to shield their location from other users (or you could just not use the app). Additionally, to use InCrowd, you will need to provide an email address and the public display shows your Facebook profile picture and first name with last initial.

Creates some safety concerns. InCrowd uses location mapping to keep track of where you are located and penalizes players who don't use it frequently. As a result, kids who use it regularly will be announcing their location without any parental control.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that InCrowd is a location-based app with a cute, kid-appealing interface that raises some privacy and safety concerns. The app lets others know where users are and what they're doing via Facebook status updates. Much like Foursquare, the app encourages others to meet up in real life. If Facebook privacy settings limit posts to "friends only" then only Facebook friends will be able to see a user's location, but if posts are visible to "everyone," then strangers could view location postings as well. The app's theme is based on "popularity," so users gain and lose popularity based on how much time they spend using the app as well as how they interact with other users (including "fist bumping" and "drop kicking" other users). The app doesn't appear to have any language filters, so users could potentially see offensive or mature language by reading comments left by others. Another way to gain "energy" within the app, is to purchase it at $.99 a pop, which could add up unless parents limit kids' ability to puchase from iTunes.

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QUALITY
 

InCrowd is a useful social media tool that hopes to make use of Facebook's new Places functionality, but it faces an uphill climb. Foursquare is the reigning king of the location-based app hill and users of that platform don't have a lot of reason to make a change. On its own merits, though, InCrowd is a different enough take that it will likely find a substantial audience. Its clever use of rewarding players who constantly check in and penalizing people who don't (you lose popularity points if you don't check in at least once per day) makes it a compelling game. Also, users can have fun customizing their avatars. Figuring out how to post your location is incredibly easy and user reviews and comments about those venues can act as a good filter. For example, if you're unsure about a restaurant, you can quickly access the thoughts and experiences of people who have been there -- both friends and strangers (though there are more established ways to do that, as well).

The app has a playful tone, but one that is based on the concept of popularity. Users can help and hurt others' popularity through their actions, which has the potential to cause hurt feelings or get ugly, especially among younger users. Because InCrowd uses Facebook Places, friends who try to hide your InCrowd updates from their Facebook feed won't be able to -- some might consider this spam. Also, the app doesn't have any sort of language or content filter for younger users, which might encourage them to make new friends randomly. As a result, this is one app you'll probably want to keep away from kids. Read more about Common Sense Media's tips for location-based services.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:August 31, 2010
Category:Social Networking
Publisher:Booyah, Inc.
Version:1.0
Minimum software requirements:OS 3.1 or later

This review of InCrowd was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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