Uptime - Watch videos together

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Uptime - Watch videos together App Poster Image
Co-viewing video idea falls short, lacks controls.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Although kids can share educational videos from YouTube, this app is not intended for learning.

Ease of Play

Introductory video covers the basics of using the app. Some features (such as finding other users) are less user-friendly than others, but most kids in the target range will have no trouble figuring it out. 

Violence

Nothing inherently violent about the experience, but YouTube videos can contain violent content, including fighting with and without weapons, historical and news-related footage, and plenty of video game and cartoon violence.

Sex

Nothing inherently sexual about the app, but YouTube videos can contain suggestive content and nudity. 

Language

YouTube videos shared within the app may contain profanity, language that stereotypes, crass humor, and verbal hostility. There is also no filter for the comments users share during the videos.

Consumerism

No in-app purchases or advertising, but ads may appear in videos and/or they may contain other commercial content (i.e., product placements, reviews, or mentions).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Shared videos may contain discussions and/or depictions of drinking (including underage), drug use, smoking, and people under the influence of alcohol/drugs. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Uptime - Watch videos together is a way to curate, share, and comment on YouTube videos in real time. Uptime requires a Google login and creates publicly shared information tied to your Google account, specifically around shared and watched videos. When watching your first video, Uptime warns that your viewing history will be publicly available. There are no privacy settings, no one is monitoring comments, and there's no control over who watches a video with you. All comments and emoticons disappear when the video is over. This makes it difficult for parents to monitor for inappropriate comments but makes for an ideal location for trolls to make lewd and/or hateful remarks. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

UPTIME - WATCH VIDEOS TOGETHER is a social platform where users can search for, share, and watch their favorite YouTube videos at the same time as others, adding their own comments and emoticons to the viewing experience. Each viewer is represented by a circle avatar that moves along a progress path around the edges of the video, similar to what you'd see on the bottom of the screen when normally watching a YouTube video. As others start watching, their avatars start the journey, too. While viewing, users can make comments, post emoticons, or swipe their fingers on the video to create a sparkle trail. As of this writing, there's no way to watch a video with specific people. Kids can follow other users and keep an eye on what they're sharing. 

Is it any good?

While joint video viewing from afar sounds like a cool idea, the result feels like more of a "Why?" than a "Wow!" Uptime - Watch videos together is founded on the appealing idea of having a shared video-watching experience with your kids or your BFF or whoever you're missing at the moment, but it isn't really that. Instead, it's a sort of open, free-for-all viewing party without many people attending. You can't invite anyone specific to join you from within the app, so you'll have to send them a regular old text to get their attention. Worse, anyone else can join you while you're watching a video, and they can comment however they'd like. You can report poor behavior, but only if you can catch it before the perpetrator is off to find another viewing partner. And if you meet someone you want to get to know more, there's no way to communicate with them outside the shared video experience. While some people might enjoy this unique way of momentarily connecting with strangers, it isn't going to meet the needs of families who want to connect from afar. Paired with a clumsy interface, most families will want to pass on this one for now. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about making safe choices online, especially when it comes to sharing. A technology use agreement can help the whole family stay on the same page and set expectations. 

  • What makes a good digital citizen? In addition to being thoughtful about your own personal information, how can you create a positive environment for others you come in contact with?

  • How do you like this app as compared with other apps you could use? If you had or have limited screen time, would you use this app over other apps on your device? Why, or why not?

App details

For kids who love social networking and video

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