A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Line is a multifaceted text, video, and voice-messaging app that also includes social media elements, such as games, group chats, and personal timelines. Privacy can be improved by using the privacy settings, which include the option to make your "Public User ID" not public, add a passcode, and filter message from non-friends. The app is free, but in-app purchases are required for some features, such as calling contacts who aren't Line users and using most stickers, themes, and games. Users can add other users to their contacts through invites, QR code, or shaking their smartphones. Line includes an option to choose "Hidden Chat," which entirely deletes messages after a brief time, similar to Snapchat. Some Line accounts called "official" accounts (similar to verified accounts on other networks) are used to promote a brand, product, celebrity, or consumer media to other individual users. Line includes versions for many mobile-device platforms as well as desktop computers.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Register for LINE with your mobile device's phone number and an email address (or only an email address for computer or non-phone-based devices). Create a profile, and view which friends in your contacts already have LINE so you can call or message them for free. Invite other friends to Line, browse and add stickers, play games, or view official accounts for news and information. All features can be accessed from the app's main screen and a "more" tab. Line packs a lot of messaging and social media options into one app.
Is it any good?
Line has become a popular messaging app, presumably in part because of its many options for messaging, cute stickers, and use across platforms and computers. But that multitude of options may be a drawback, too. This app includes a lot of ways to spend money, little by little, through small in-app purchases for a pack of cute stickers or a game.
The integration between some social media elements (timelines, games) and video, audio, calls, and many other forms of messaging is interesting, although sometimes more options in one app are useful and at other times they can clutter basic functions until it becomes too distracting to enjoy any of the many options. Voice-message sound quality during this review was less clear than in other messaging apps. Sometimes simplicity can help users communicate even better than a multitude of methods, and LINE rides the thin line between enough and too many choices.
Talk to your kids about ...
Review the privacy options on Line with your teens and encourage them to keep their user IDs private and filter messages from people they don't know.
Discuss your family's rules about in-app purchases with your teen.
Families can talk about messaging apps. Read Common Sense's trend alert about messaging apps and talk with your teen about why it's not a good idea to share iffy secrets online.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Windows Phone
- Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
- Pricing structure: Free (Users can make in-app purchases for a variety of services, such as buying credits to call to non-LINE users, games, sticker packs, and more.)
- Release date: July 22, 2014
- Category: Social Networking
- Size: 32.20 MB
- Publisher: NAVER JAPAN
- Version: 4.5.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 5.0 or later, Android 2.1 and up.
For kids who love to share with others
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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.