A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
What's it about?
SQUAD – SOCIAL SCREEN SHARING is a free social networking app in the vein of Skype, that lets you make video calls to friends and share photos and other content via text chat. Beyond that, it lets friends share what's on their mobile device screen through screen sharing. Users can search for friends by name or user name, invite them to join a private room, then tap a “broadcast” button. From then on, guests can see and comment on whatever's on your screen: apps, videos, games, websites, etc. Audio/video controls and split screen functionality let you and your friends conduct video calls while sharing content. Alternately, you can focus solely on broadcasts by choosing the full screen setting.
Is it any good?
Though the idea of viewing and chatting with friends in different locations is appealing, the potential contact with strangers who can share unknown content make this risky for teens. The biggest concern is that though the app asks for access to your contacts -- and the main purpose is to use the app with friends -- it's possible to perform random searches and invite whoever pops up in the search, strangers included. Furthermore, if your kids accept such random invites, there's no way of knowing what sort of chat, audio/video, or web content they'll be exposed to. Though the app provides no access to other users' profiles and you can block users on an individual basis, there appears to be no way to block random invites or the sharing of inappropriate content during live broadcasts. This is fairly worrisome, and the developers offer no information regarding it. The iTunes app store for Squad – social screen sharing is devoid of useful information, and the developer's official website offers no insight either.
In terms of how it works, it functions reasonably well, but is unintuitive, and with the short tutorial video hidden on a secondary screen, you're likely to tap and swipe for some time before anything much happens. If you've opted out of allowing the app access to your contacts, there appears to be no means of accessing it later. Still, the screen sharing mechanic works reasonably well and could be used for things beyond entertainment, such as tutoring or helping kids create remote study groups. All things considered, Squad – social screen sharing feels like an embryonic version of what could one day be a very useful app.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the dangers of accepting online friend invites in apps like Squad - social screen sharing and other similar apps. Do your kids understand why they should never accept an invitation from someone they don't know?
Discuss the pros and cons of screen sharing. What kinds of good uses can it be put to? How can bad people use it to do harm?
Think about setting limits for what kids can share online. Do your kids understand the unique ways in which screen sharing could expose personal info/put them at risk?
For kids who love social networking and digital presentation
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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.