Notify by Facebook - Notifications that matter

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Notify by Facebook - Notifications that matter App Poster Image

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Push notifications of customizable (sometimes racy) content.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

Super easy to set up notifications for wide range of topics.

Violence

Depending on channel choices, kids may encounter violent content, particularly about current events and breaking news.

Sex

Depending on channel choices, kids may encounter sexual content (such as a weekly sex tip from Cosmo).

Language

Depending on channel choices, kids may encounter a range of language.

Consumerism

Linked articles may contain ads.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Depending on channel choices, teens may encounter references to drinking, drugs, and alcohol -- including a channel specifically about vices.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Notify by Facebook - Notifications that matter sends push notifications to a device from selected sources. Users connect through their Facebook accounts, so it's not for kids under 13 per the terms of service. Some sources, such as the Vice channel and Cosmo, include adult content; Vice features a section with the description "Might want to turn incognito mode on," and Cosmo features "Hump Day," which delivers a weekly Wednesday sex tip. Other sources include news channels such as Fox News and CNN, entertainment channels such as Fandango and Hulu, and information sources such as the Weather Channel, along with a smorgasbord of other content that could be relevant and interesting to teens. Facebook's privacy policy applies to Notify as well, so parents should know that location information and usage data is collected and shared. The privacy policy spells out the specifics but changes frequently.

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What's it about?

Similar to how they follow pages on Twitter, users choose which stations and sources to follow with NOTIFY BY FACEBOOK - NOTIFICATIONS THAT MATTER. They can browse by category (business, entertainment, politics, shopping, travel, and so on) or choose a source (Billboard, CNN, Fox Sports, Huffington Post, Mashable, and so on) and then select the specific stations that interest them. Updates from selected stations then show up as push notifications, even if the lock screen is on. Users can also browse their news feeds and mark articles to be read later.

Is it any good?

Getting only the news and information you want delivered to your lock screen for immediate or future consumption may be an information junkie's dream come true. The push notifications give Facebook users a way to separate news and information from their friends' vacation pictures and political rants. It's similar to following sources on Twitter but with a little more control over specific topics; for example, rather than following anything that CNN posts, users can choose to follow breaking news or election information or just get one big story each day. Just like the name indicates, users get notified right away, but the interface is flexible, allowing them to save a story to read later or to browse feeds of chosen sources. The variety of content is impressive and almost overwhelming, including salacious tidbits that aren't intended for kids or teens. Though the iffy content is also found on Facebook itself, most kids wouldn't seek it out there, so consider this app a concentrated vehicle for lots of news, including quite a bit not meant for younger teens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about current events -- from weather to entertainment to world news -- as teens stay up to date via notifications.

  • Talk to kids about how to handle sensitive or adult topics they may come across through their feeds, and guide the channel choices of younger teens.

  • Discuss the pros and cons of receiving constant notifications. What's good about being up to date on information? What's problematic about a steady stream of alerts on your phone?

App details

For kids who love social networking and news

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