Paper – stories from Facebook

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
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Terrific way to interact with your friends -- and the world.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn more about the world around them, thanks to Paper's feed of information from news, sports, entertainment, and other sources. They're not forced to read about the news of the day, but those who want to better understand the world around them now have the option at their fingertips, which also could expand their cultural awareness. Kids also can see how images look when fully expanded on a screen, which may prompt them to be more creative when taking photos. Paper lets kids keep up not only with the world their friends live in, but the world at large.

Ease of Play

The navigation is very intuitive, and the app walks you through the process nicely. 

Violence

Since there's a feed of real-world news events, users likely will be exposed to violence from around the world in words and perhaps pictures. 

Sex

One of the options for news is celebrity gossip, which often has some sexual components. 

Language

Facebook is largely unmonitored, so users could see a variety of obscene words, depending on their friends' vocabularies. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking or smoking could be depicted in some images in the app. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Paper – stories from Facebook is a social app that combines the popular social network with news feeds from external news sources. As with the Facebook you already know, this app is not appropriate for younger kids because of privacy concerns. Although it's a different format, it's still possible for kids to unknowingly or accidentally share personal information they shouldn't. There are no inherent concerns about violence, sexuality, or other issues -- though that is always subject to change based on the people on your friends list and the additional feeds you choose to include. 

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What's it about?

The first time a user launches PAPER - STORIES FROM FACEBOOK, they're asked about what interests them and given the chance to add those interest categories to the app's feed. It's a buzzword-driven collection, filled with words such as "Headlines," "Tech," "Planet," "Ideas," and "Flavor," but easily discerned. Although your news feed is still your launch screen, a swipe of the screen takes you to other areas of interest. Instead of forcing stories on you, the app offers a small preview. Want to learn more? Zoom it open with your fingers. Finished? Pinch it shut. News stories are incredibly easy to read, and photos are expanded to full screen. Posting, messaging, and all the other traditional Facebook features are still available, but they're not as intrusive as they seem with the regular Facebook app.

Is it any good?

While pundits discuss whether Facebook is becoming irrelevant, the king of social media has deftly reinvented itself with Paper – stories from Facebook. The app discards the traditional look and feel of the news feed, introducing a much cleaner list of items that put the emphasis on updates and pictures. Taking things one step further, it no longer feels the need to segregate its audience from other news sources. Paper lets you keep up not only with the world your friends live in but the world at large -- giving it an all-encompassing feel. It's hard to describe how much the diversity increases the appeal.  

Data sources aside, it's also masterfully designed. Accessing new stories feels natural, and the app makes uploaded pictures look incredible. It'd be nice to have an offline reading mode and a few other small features, but this is an app that reminds any user that Facebook is hardly losing its appeal. If anything, it's changing nicely with the times. All of that said, however, it's still Facebook -- and something that remains unsuitable for younger children. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the need to know who's accessing information before sharing it -- and the importance of privacy in the digital age. 

  • Families also can discuss what is appropriate to share with others -- and what should be kept to oneself. 

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love socializing and keeping up with the news

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