Lifestage

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Lifestage App Poster Image

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Short-video social app with privacy and safety concerns.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Created for entertainment and not with educational intent.

Ease of Play

The app doesn't offer a lot of hints about its interface. Figuring out how to add videos (beyond the initial setup) and find content from classmates takes a lot of exploration. 

Violence

No inherent violence, but revolves around user-generated content, meaning violence could appear.

Sex

No inherent sexual content, but revolves around user-generated content, meaning sexual content could appear.

Language

No inherent foul language, but revolves around user-generated content, meaning profanity could appear.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

No inherent drinking, drugs, or smoking, but revolves around user-generated content, meaning substance use could appear.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lifestage is a video-based social media app aimed at high school kids (and younger). However, it's also an app that lacks protocols to prevent adults masquerading as high school students from seeing content, and it has intense privacy concerns, as kids are encouraged to post visual details of their lives. The app has no explicit content on its own, but since it's centered on user-generated videos, there's always the possibility that something inappropriate could appear. Read the Facebook-owned app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared. 

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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 ...

  • Families can talk about what's appropriate to share on social media platforms such as Lifestage -- and what's better off left private. 

  • Families can also talk about bullying and how apps like this one can give tormenters information they can use against their victims. 

App details

For kids who love social networking

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