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?
IRL – LET'S HANG makes meeting friends easy. It requires a phone number to register and asks for your age and location. Then, using your phone contact list, it lets you create events, invite friends, and designate details like time, date, and location. Create your own meet-ups or choose from preset categories like Bowling, Workout, Date Night, and Hanging at the Mall. Discuss meet-ups through event-specific chat and let friends weigh in on details of your event by creating multiple-choice polls. Track your real-life social whirl with a digital calendar, and attend events using built-in map functionality. In between events, anonymously nominate friends for having particular characteristics or skills, like having the "chillest poolside jams" or being a "mother f---ing legend."
Is it any good?
This app has the potential to be a useful tool or a parent's worst nightmare. Though IRL - Let's Hang is rated in the app store for users 12 and up and has some nice organizational tools, parents might not enjoy their kids joining the "Litty Committee" (whose activities are symbolized by a beer can) or having their friends nominate them for "bingeing the hardest" or being a "motherf---ing legend."
More than just the questionable references and language, though, the issue with IRL - Let's Hang in terms of teens is its main purpose: facilitating real-life meet-ups. On the upside, the app uses your phone contact list, not a general online search, and this could prevent your teens meeting with strangers. Still, once someone is in a device's contacts, the app can be used to chat, send (and take) photographs, and designate meeting places complete with directions (although during the review period, the built-in directions/map functionality doesn't appear to be working). Also, though the nominations are relatively positive, the fact that you're sending them anonymously can be dicey, since there's no way to know who's giving you feedback. The interface is clean and easy to use, but there are significant glitches, like randomly minimizing and refusing to give directions or let you add a profile picture. Also, upon first downloading it, an error message appeared saying "the server was overloaded" and to contact a customer service email for notification of server status. It was days before registration was possible. Let's face it -- after a message like that, "in real life," no amount of convenience would prevent most people from immediately uninstalling the app. Bottom line: It's a potentially risky app, and its usefulness for older kids is marred by technical issues and poor customer service.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about when it's OK to meet up with people in real life using apps like IRL - Let's Hang. Do you know all your kids' online friends? Do their online personas match who they are in real life?
Talk about online safety and using social media responsibly. What information is OK to share? What isn't? Does being anonymous change the types of messages you send and receive? Why?
Discuss appropriate event planning. Are your kids' events inclusive or exclusive? How do they affect your kids' real life relationships?
For kids who love social networking
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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.