ooVoo Video Call, Text and Voice
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that ooVoo Video Call, Text and Voice is a free app that teens can use to group video chat with up to 12 people, even if they're using different platforms (iPhone, Android, desktop computers, and more). ooVoo users also can send texts and make regular phone calls, including to international numbers (in-app purchase is required). Ads on the free version can be removed by purchasing ooVoo's premium service. The developer's terms indicate people must be 13 or older to use the app. An important privacy and safety note: Unless teens change their account settings to limit or restrict public access, anyone can search for, see, and contact them.
What's it about?
First, create an OOVOO account, using an email address or a Facebook account. The app will ask for access to your contacts; either approve or deny. Your contacts (and ads) will pop up on the main "Friends" screen. Any friend requests also will appear. Tap "Dial a Friend" to make a phone call using a phone number, or tap a friend's name to text, video chat, or call them. When video calling, you can minimize or maximize yourself or other callers. ooVoo is a powerful app that gives teens multiple ways to communicate with peers and adults.
Is it any good?
Using different communication tools such as Facebook, FaceTime, and Skype comes more naturally to most teens than talking into a telephone, so they'll love that ooVoo offers group chat across multiple device platforms, as well as the abilities to text and call individual friends. For people seeking to call internationally, ooVoo offers call minutes as in-app purchases to more than 70 countries. Users can video chat with friends who don't have ooVoo, but the process is much more complicated. The desktop and premium versions include even more features (such as video messaging and file sharing) and no ads. Video and sound quality are generally good, although that can reportedly vary with device and network quality.
For teen's safety, it would be nice to see the restricted profile access as the default setting, but parents and teens can easily change that setting for improved privacy and safety. Users can block people they don't want contacting them via ooVoo, and they can report any other user for harassing behavior. Used wisely, ooVoo can be a fantastic communication tool for teens and adults.
Families can talk about...
Encourage (or require) your teen to use the app's privacy settings so only people they know can contact them via ooVoo, and remind them they can use the block and/or report features if someone contacts them in unwanted or harassing ways.
Since ooVoo includes group video chats, discuss respectful group communication and healthy group dynamics with your teen. Although they may know a lot more about video calling and online social networking than you do, some important lessons about ethical social behavior and being kind to individuals in groups remains the same across platforms, digital and otherwise.
Don't understand why your teen wants to use this and other social media nearly 24/7? Read Common Sense Media's report "Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives."
|Devices:||iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Mac, Android, Apps for Windows, Windows Phone|
|Price:||Free (with in-app purchases)|
|Pricing structure:||Free (In-app purchase: ooVoo premium $2.99/mo., $29.99/year. Credits for international calls vary in price.)|
|Release date:||June 16, 2014|
|Minimum software requirements:||iOS 6.0 or later; Android 2.2 and up|