A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Roo Kids is a messaging app for kids that gives parents some options to make the experience safer for kids. Parents receive notifications when kids send or receive friend requests, so they can manage the connections kids make. Other parental controls, such as the ability to create a banned words list, are available but aren't airtight: Banned words with punctuation can still get through, and kid can still write messages that will be sent when the curfew window is over. Kids can send photos and drawings they create in-app and can buy additional sticker packages or other options for their profile backdrops.
What's it about?
To register with ROO KIDS, kids or parents enter a username, password, and parent email. They then can invite other users from their contact list or enter a known username to connect with friends. After that, kids can message friends, sending text, drawings, stickers, or pictures. Parents receive notification of friend requests -- sent or received -- and can approve or remove friends. Kids receive push notifications when they have a new message, unless notifications are disabled in settings.
Is it any good?
Although Roo Kids has potential as a safe chatting app for kids, the parental controls don't work reliably enough for parents to have full confidence. Parents can set curfew hours restricting when kids can use live chat, but kids can still write messages and use the drawing feature during curfew hours. The banned words features also is faulty, allowing those words if they're followed by punctuation. The alerts when kids send or receive friend requests work well and are probably the most valuable for parents.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about choosing whom to "friend" and what is appropriate to chat about online. Watch our video Perspectives on Chatting together and discuss.
Think about how much you'll monitor kids' texting. Read our Q&A: Should parents read their kids' text messages for different perspectives. Let kids know how you'll be monitoring their activity.
Discuss the permanence of online communication: For example, let kids know that, even if they delete a message they've already sent, it will stay on the receiver's device.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Skills: Communication: friendship building, multiple forms of expression
Tech Skills: social media, using and applying technology
- Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
- Pricing structure: Paid (Additional stickers and backgrounds available for in-app purchase)
- Release date: March 4, 2015
- Category: Social Networking
- Topics: Friendship
- Size: 36.30 MB
- Publisher: Gungroo Software Private Limited
- Version: 2.1.7
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later; Android 2.2 and up
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For kids who love safe chatting and social networking
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.