Tribe - Video Messaging - Faster than texting, easier than live video and phone calls

App review by
Patricia Montic..., Common Sense Media
Tribe - Video Messaging - Faster than texting, easier than live video and phone calls App Poster Image
Tap, hold, release to share quick videos with your friends.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

Tribe's developers boast that it's a "one-handed app," and it's super easy to tap, record, and send videos to your friends.

Violence

Depends on your friends' posts.

Sex

Depends on your friends' posts.

Language

Depends on your friends' posts.

Consumerism

Depends on your friends' posts.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Depends on your friends' posts.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tribe - Video Messaging - Faster than texting, easier than live video and phone calls is a social-networking tool that lets you send brief videos to your friends. Users control whom they share with by adding contacts manually, and the videos you share disappear immediately after they're viewed. Keep in mind that the app is intended for people over the age of 18, though it's possible for younger teens to use it responsibly. Read the app's privacy policy to find out more about the types of information collected and shared. Also, be advised: There are lots of apps out there called Tribe, including another video-messaging app with very adult themes. If you do choose to download this app to your device, make sure you've downloaded the one you expected to find.

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What's it about?

TRIBE - VIDEO MESSAGING - FASTER THAN TEXTING, EASIER THAN LIVE VIDEO AND PHONE CALLS is a video-messaging app that lets users share 15-second videos with their friends. To get started, add your contacts (from your device's address book or by hand) to the colorful tiles on the app's home page. Each tile becomes a button you can tap to access a chat with another user or a group of users. To send a message, just tap a tile and hold to record a video, and then that video will be sent to the contacts on that tile and will feature a graphic that shows your location, the current weather, and the distance between you and the contact. If your contacts send you a message or send a message to a group chat, a red notification dot appears on that tile, and you can tap to view it. Videos fill the screen and loop repeatedly until you stop them, and they disappear immediately after they're viewed. The more you use the app, the more points you accumulate, though it's unclear what those points do.

Is it any good?

With parental supervision and used by older teens, there's some potential here to share fun videos with small groups, but users need to be well-versed in the risks. Though the app is pretty limited unless your friends are on it, it's a neat way to think about messaging without text or emojis. It's part Snapchat, part Vine, part walkie-talkie, and its bright colors and dead-simple one-finger recording features make it a pleasure to use. However, video sharing is a different animal from text messaging, so parents may want to talk to teens about how it's easier to send unintended information via video than in a crafted text message, especially since it's so easy to send a video with this app: There are only a few seconds to delete the video and start over before it's automatically sent, and it's very possible to send a video to the wrong person. Also, the automatic location-sharing is a potential concern if teens are sharing videos with contacts they don't know especially well. In terms of functionality, its simplicity is a blessing and a curse, as more options around creating, editing, sharing, and deleting videos would help with the potential "uh-oh" factor.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about your family's rules around social media. What's OK to share? How can you protect yourself online, and how should you act online? Talk about what it means to be a good digital citizen.

  • Talk about how sending video messages is different from sending text messages. How does it affect privacy? Is it easier to share unintended information with one more than the other?

  • Discuss the location-sharing feature that so many apps have. What are the risks? If an app allows you to turn it off and on, when is it OK to broadcast your location and to whom can you broadcast it?

App details

For kids who love social networking

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