Slingshot

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Slingshot App Poster Image

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Send photo or video to get one back on moments-sharing app.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

Very easy to use. The app starts with a mini-tutorial that guides new users through the first steps of the simple user interface. A notice appears when you have a new message. Then you create your own message by tapping a button on the screen to take a photo (or holding it down for a seconds-long video) and choosing whom you want to send it to, and a message unlocks. It's also easy to draw on your images with a cool color wheel-like strip down the side of the image screen. 

Violence

Violent content and threats are not allowed, according to Facebook's terms of use. Content depends on what individual users choose to send. Content that breaks the rules can be reported. 

Sex

Nudity isn't allowed by Facebook's terms of use. Content depends on what individual users choose to send. Content that breaks the rules can be reported. 

Language

Content depends on what individual users choose to send. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Content depends on what individual users choose to send. Users can post photos related to alcohol and tobacco, so long as the content is within the law.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Slingshot is a "moments"-sharing app from Facebook that requires people to send a photo or video before they can view another "shot" from one of their contacts (who may or may not be a Facebook friend, since users register for the app with a cell phone number). Images from locked messages are pixelated until you send your shot. People can respond to shots they've unlocked with a "react" message, but only once. The conversations within these image-based moments aren't meant to be lengthy. Slingshot is sort of like Snapchat but also is similar to Instagram: It deletes what's shared as soon as a recipient views it, and messages can be sent to multiple recipients at once and includes the option to "Send All," which sends to everyone on your friends list. Typed text is optional, and there's a drawing feature that enables users to draw on and color in the images they send.

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What's it about?

Choose a username, and then enter your name and your cell phone number to register. Aim where you want to take a photo or video (your "shot"), and then tap "Shoot" for a photo or hold the same button to take a video. SLINGSHOT lists how many "shots" are currently locked from view at the top of the screen. There's a page where you can view the people in your phone's contact list or Facebook friends who have Slingshot, and then "sling" your shot to whomever you choose (or hit "Send All" to send to your whole list) by swiping. Respond to a person's shot by tapping "React" and typing a message.

Is it any good?

Slingshot is interesting, and the central premise -- send a shot to get a shot -- may reduce lurkers and increase equitable sharing among its users. The video or photo options paired with the ability to type or draw on them create an easy way to share brief moments and fun, creative messages. The big question is: Will people (especially need-to-know-now teens) use the service as intended or take shots of, say, their shoes or the sidewalk just to open messages they've received? If more irrelevant stuff coming through smartphones is the result of this app's send-or-stay-locked system, Slingshot could bug its users.

Talk to your kids about ...

App details

For kids who love taking photos and socializing

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