tbh

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
tbh App Poster Image
Multiple choice-style feedback not mean, but collects data.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational value

Created for entertainment and not intended for learning.

Ease of play

Super-simple multiple-choice polls; confusing contact search and "add a friend" mechanism.

Violence
Sex

Mild flirtatious poll questions referencing dating and marriage.

Language

Some slang like "af" which stands for "as f--k."

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that tbh (to be honest) is a free social networking app that lets friends anonymously answer questions about one another. The questions are 100% controlled by the developer and as such, don't become outwardly mean or insulting, although teens could potentially find a way to use the app to target others. Users can submit their own ideas for poll questions, but these are reviewed by the developer before being added to the question pool. Registration asks for users' age indirectly by asking for the highest grade completed in high school or college. It also accesses users' phone contact lists and location to help them identify the school they attend. When a user gets chosen as a response to a question, that user can reply to the person who chose them. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the kinds of information collected and shared. 

User Reviews

Adult Written byA K. September 15, 2017

BEWARE - Requires Kids Provide Full Access to Contacts & Location

This app first requires users to provide full access to all contacts and the users wherabouts at all times via location monitoring. This might be ok for kids n... Continue reading
Adult Written byCarolynC September 22, 2017

Another way to be judged by others

Although this app markets itself as giving only "positive vibes", it is yet another way for kids to judge others and be judged. True, kids only see th... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byestellar September 14, 2017

Only wholly positive social media app around!

Super fun to connect with friends while remaining anon to answer polls that are only positive! All the questions have to be reviewed by the developer which lead... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byOIiver September 16, 2017

What's it about?

TBH is a simple social networking app that lets you answer fun, whimsical questions about your friends and collect gems (trophies) every time your friends select your name in answer to a question. Once you give access to your phone's contact list and location, you can select the high school or college you attend. Since there's no age verification, adults can join or kids can say they attend a school they don't. Ultimately, the app draws from your phone's contact list first and then offers other app users from the school second. You can invite friends, and then play a 10-question game where you decide which friend of four is most likely to live in a tent, eat a live bug, become the next president, etc. If you don't like the names offered as choices, you can shuffle to get different friends' names. Once the 10 questions are done, you wait through an hour-long timer before playing again; inviting a friend to join grants you another round. Players can submit their own poll question ideas and designate custom emojis to go with them, but the developer screens these questions to make sure content is appropriate. If chosen, a user can reply to the anonymous person who chose them in a direct message.

Is it any good?

Instead of open-ended, anonymous comments, this app scripts fun feedback, but privacy concerns, a future chat function, and the possibility of off-road, meaner use are still concerns. In terms of functionality, the only weird thing about tbh is its contact search and friend finder. It can choose contacts you haven't talked to in years and fail to find the ones you actually care about, and the pull-down function to actually make a connection after selecting someone is confusing. As for appearance, the app couldn't be simpler: Questions appear on different colored screens -- questions designed to make people laugh or call out friends' interesting quirks.

As it stands, there's nothing truly mean about the questions themselves. They're mostly G-rated (one or two make mild reference to whether or not someone is dating or marriage material) and range from the serious ("Who would you want to be stuck on a desert island with?") to the silly ("Who's most likely to live in the forest after high school?"). One question encountered during review was "Who is extra af?" which includes an implied swear word ("af" stands for "as f--k") and can have a negative connotation. Generally, the questions are fun to answer, and even more fun is earning gems and finding out just how amazing or off-the-wall your friends think you are. But for sensitive teens or for those who want to turn things mean, there's still a possibility of kids getting singled out, made to seem weird, or otherwise made a target. That's not inherent in the app, but it is a side effect of any anonymous app if kids want to spin it that way, and the ability to shuffle to find a certain name makes it easier to target someone. Also, the volume of data that's collected and the wait-or-invite function may be a concern for parents. While the privacy policy states that location is used only initially to find your school, it's a good idea to turn off its access to location in your device's settings once that's complete. In the end, and at the time of this review, tbh is certainly one of the tamest anonymous apps, but parents may still want to have a conversation with teens about how their friends are using it, the data it collects, and how to use it for friendship and not fodder for negativity.

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how social media can be used to spread positive, rather than negative, energy. How does an app like tbh fit into this equation? 

  • Discuss anonymity within social networking. Does hiding your identity encourage good or bad behavior?

  • Think about how social networking can be used to encourage and help other people.

App details

For kids who love social networking and kindness

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