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Oyoty

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Oyoty App Poster Image
Robot guides kids to reconsider iffy social media posts.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about a handful of types of content that can be inappropriate or dangerous to post on social media. The discussion and critical-thinking prompts encourage kids to delve deep into understanding why they should avoid posting certain content. Step-by-step instructions also guide kids in editing posts or adjusting privacy settings. Though parents can get reports on what their kids are doing, Oyoty empowers kids to fix problem posts on their own. And if kids want to discuss further, they can flag an issue for discussion with their parents, which can help open lines of communication.

Ease of Play

There are several steps to getting the whole system set up -- including scanning a personalized QR code -- but there's pretty good guidance along the way.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Oyoty monitors kids' social media accounts and, through algorithms, flags content that might be unsafe for them to post. Parents must provide an email address to create an account and then have customizable levels of supervision over teens' accounts. Then kids install the app on their smartphone, connect it to their parents' account, and provide their login information for up to three social media accounts with Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Parents should note that though there's no age limit on Oyoty, kids must be at least 13 years of age to sign up for a Facebook or Instagram account. Each parent account can support up to five kids, and each of those accounts can monitor up to three social media streams. The service is available for free for two months and then costs $5 per month thereafter. At the time of this review, Oyoty warns that it is optimized for use in France, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom and its detection algorithms may not work as well outside these countries. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

When installed on a kid's phone and connected to a parent's account, the OYOTY robot scans what kids post to their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts. When kids post personal information, photos with lots of skin, or possibly offensive phrases, Oyoty starts a series of questions that encourage kids to consider whether what they posted was safe and appropriate and helps them "fix" it. After three days, if kids don't edit or remove the content, or they adjust their privacy settings, parents get notification of the issue. Along the way, parents can adjust how much information they see about their kids' feeds.

Is it any good?

Step-by-step guidance gets kids thinking critically about the content they post in their social media accounts, though the range of content that can be flagged for review is limited. Oyoty deserves credit for being a nice step up from simply blocking kids from posting certain kinds of content or allowing parents to see everything a kid is posting. Rather, the Oyoty system aims to actually teach kids what is appropriate and safe to post, why it is or isn't safe, and how to fix it on their own. Parent monitoring is a necessary and essential piece of the process. But though there are ways to adjust these settings, rather than putting parents in the helicopter-cop role, the default is that parents get a generalized summary of what their kids are doing. In that way, kids are empowered to take control of their own actions and fix their mistakes by themselves -- or mark questions for discussion with their parents. In the name of safety, however, if Oyoty flags something and kids don't fix it within three days, parents do get a more detailed notification. The main downside is that the algorithms are currently set to detect only a few types of content, meaning that there's still a wealth of inappropriate things kids could post that won't be detected. Given that, this is a great start and can be a nice critical-thinking tool, but parents should not rely on Oyoty as their sole means of educating their kids about and/or monitoring their kids' social media activities.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the kinds of content Oyoty flags. Why is it inappropriate to publicize personally identifiable information like phone numbers and addresses? What about the things Oyoty doesn't flag? What other kinds of content might not be appropriate?

  • Encourage kids to think about their digital footprints. Remind them that everything they post can be searched, copied, and broadcast and is permanent. Ask them to consider things such as what kinds of things people might learn about you based on what you post.

  • As soon as your kid creates accounts on any social media site, help them review and set their privacy settings.

  • Read tips on how to help kids manage social media. Talk to them about the pros and cons of using social media. Discuss how to do so safely, and keep lines of communication open so kids feel comfortable bringing up problems or questions they encounter.

App details

For kids who love social networking

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