Soundcircles

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Soundcircles App Poster Image
Picture + sound is fun, but withholding cool options is not.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Created for entertainment and not intended for learning, though educational applications are certainly possible.

Ease of Play

Kicks off with a simple tutorial. Everything else is easy to figure out, but some icons for the sound clips are vague.

Violence

Mild references to fighting in the sound clips ("I'll drop him like a ... "), and some user-generated content appears to be from partner brands and could contain violent images/sound clips over time. 

Sex

There are references to having a "great body" and one quoted reference to a "smelly pirate hooker." Some user-generated content appears to be from partner brands that could contain sexy images/sound clips over time.

Language

Some clips contain coarse language, and a few contain swears such as "f--k" and "motherf----r." Also a section of insults such as "stupid" and "jerk-off" from popular media. Some user-generated content appears to be from partner brands and could contain inappropriate language over time. 

Consumerism

While the app is free and has no in-app purchases, the "sample" Soundcircles seem to all be branded content for movies, music, politics, and the like. Most of these contain links to outside sites, in some cases to buy the item showcased. There's also a section of sound clips called "Adverts" that contains familiar product slogans, such as "They're Grrrreat" and "Finger Licking Good."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Branded sample content has at least one marijuana leaf in a political ad. More references could appear as the app gets updated.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Soundcircles is a way to express yourself by adding sound clips to pictures. Most of the sample sound clips are mild, but a few have strong language and references to violence and sex. It seems likely that these clips could change over time. The app also has a portfolio of samples that are primarily branded content with clickable links. Ultimately, creations are meant to be shared via channels such as social media, text, and email, and there are options to share publicly or only to specific contacts. 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?

SOUNDCIRCLES is simply a way to share images with sound clips embedded. Users take a picture or choose one from their library and tap on any area of the picture to add a sound clip. The app comes with a library of clips in the following categories: sport, viral, noises, adverts, insults, compliments, Will Ferrell, superheroes, and villains. There's also the option to record custom clips. Once the Soundcircle is complete, users can upload it to social media, email it, or otherwise shared via the device share options. 

Is it any good?

A simple and clear interface make this easy to use, but unfortunately it lacks the features to make it a truly creative endeavor. Soundcircles is an easy way to send a special message to a friend, such as a birthday card where each person sings a portion of the birthday song. The included clips can lead to some silly play, and the interface is a pleasure to use. What trips up this app is the sample set of Soundcircles that have been created by branded partners. These have cool features that aren't available to the general user at the time of review. Soundcircles is fine as it is, but once you see the possibilities, it's hard not to miss the extra features, such as links, and the ability to create quizzes that reveal their own answers. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about communication in general and using Soundcircles. How do you communicate with different types of people? What things may be appropriate for a friend but not an older family member? What things aren't appropriate for anyone? 

  • Families can talk about responsible communication using technology and how to avoid creating or engaging in digital drama. How can you use Soundcircles responsibly?

App details

For kids who love social networks and digital presentations

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