A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
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What's it about?
Users of MARCO POLO VIDEO WALKIE TALKIE can stay in touch with friends (and anyone else on their contact lists), exchanging video messages in real time or when it's convenient. For example, one user can send a video message, and the recipient can respond when it works for them, continuing the conversation. In contrast to FaceTime or Skype, where users have to be present at the same time, this app lets users have a video conversation on a delay. To spice things up, you can add filters to the videos and add text messages and doodle on-screen.
Is it any good?
There's nothing truly original here, but responding to video messages when it's convenient might seem liberating; on the other hand, conversations may seem stilted and the glitches too numerous. Those who prefer video chats in real time will find that any of the video functions can be done more smoothly with FaceTime. And the filters, doodles, and texts, while they add some variety, aren't likely to make the conversation any more or less pleasant. Some users complain of high data usage and battery drainage, and it's worth noting that items of personal information -- including the videos you send -- are collected and stored, though it's unclear for how long or to what end. Also be aware that if you allow access to your contact list, you can select friends to add or invite one-by-one, but some users have accidentally invited their entire contact list.
The notable advantage is the ability to watch videos from your contacts at your leisure. And the conversation is archived, so you can go back and rewatch it whenever you'd like. Parents will want to ensure they know everyone in their child's contact list and talk about limits around how many messages are OK to send and when to send them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what's appropriate to share using Marco Polo Video Walkie Talkie -- even with friends. What's fun and interesting to send?
Talk about the advantages of in-person communication versus text and video clips. Though the app allows people to see body language and hear tone of voice, how is sharing through video different from a real-life conversation?
Discuss using this type of app in balance with other forms of communication and other activities. What are your family's limits on device use?
For kids who love social networking and safe chatting
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