A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
What's it about?
LIFESTAGE users create a visual profile of their lives, creating short videos focusing on everything from likes and dislikes to their friends, home, and what's in their closet. When enough people from a school start using the app, it "unlocks" that school, letting students see the profiles of others who attend. Anyone who lists their age as over 21 is blocked from seeing the content of other users, but there's no age verification. There are also no privacy settings, so once you've uploaded your videos, anyone on the app who says they're under 21 can see the profile.
Is it any good?
Though the simple, short content and use of existing school communities may attract users, its flawed interface and lack of privacy make it less than ideal. It's not hard to determine why Facebook created an app aimed at a younger audience, but it's baffling why it didn't include any protections in the process. Lifestage is the company's attempt to reclaim younger users, who have been moving away from the social media king, using videos, animated frames, and a Snapchat-like feel. But while the app claims to protect users by blocking anyone over 21 from seeing other profiles, those "protections" are easily circumvented through the lack of age verification. Meanwhile, the app encourages kids to show very specific details of their lives, including videos of their bedrooms and friends. And while the built-in school community might be fun for some teens, it can also be problematic for those who are bullied or become targets.
There are no messenger-like tools yet, so while parents don't have to worry about direct harassment, the information shown in these "digital scrapbooks" could be used by bullies, stalkers, and others will ill intent. It's an app that parents should discuss closely with teens -- and keep away from younger children.
Talk to your kids about ...
For kids who love social networking
Our editors recommend
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.