Viber

Common Sense Media says

Message or call with stickers, doodle for visual fun.

Age(i)

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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Very easy to set up and use. Links automatically with any contacts in your device who are already using Viber. Intuitive user interface, easy-to-understand and commonly used icons. Settings also are understandable and offer lots of custom options. Clear steps are required to invite non-Viber users to the app, as well as to purchase credits and place calls with non-Viber users, who are listed separately in the Viber contacts list from free-to-call Viber users. 

Violence

One in-app purchase sticker includes an image of a cartoon boy with red marks on his face from being slapped by a girl, who is walking away angrily. A few other paid stickers related to sports-show unsportsmanlike conduct or fistfighting.

Sex

A few in-app purchase stickers include suggestive content -- for example, a cartoon man shirtless in a bed hugging two women, a cartoon woman wearing a thong swimsuit, and a sticker that says "Booty Call."

Language

A few of the in-app purchase stickers contain mild profanity or coarse language.

Consumerism

No third-party ads. In-app purchases include sticker packs (which are mildly promoted with a "more stickers" icon at the bottom of the free stickers on the messaging screen) and credits to call non-Viber users. A promotional message with "Try Viber Out" occasionally fills the phone's screen to encourage people to use the pay-for-credits service to call people who aren't using Viber. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A few stickers include alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. One in-app purchase sticker says "Hung Over." 

Privacy & safety

Account settings are understandable and easy to use and offer custom options for privacy. When installing the app, users must agree to provide access to the device's location, contacts, text functionality, phone, photos/media files, the "social stream," the browsing history, bookmarks, and more. For a user to message another person, that person must be in the user's contacts. Users must be 13 years old or older.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Viber can be used to send free text messages, photos, video messages, and phone calls to other Viber users. It can be used anywhere, even internationally, with Wi-Fi or 3G access. Use Viber on Android, iOS, or Windows phones and some desktop computers. Viber accounts can be created through Facebook or a cell phone number. When a person creates an account, the app identifies and lists Viber users already in the contacts. Group messages can include up to 100 participants. Make calls to non-Viber users and landline phones by purchasing "credits." There are thousands of stickers, some free, to include with messages (some in-app purchase stickers are not kid-appropriate). Users also can draw messages or doodle on photo messages.

Parents say

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Kids say

What's it about?

To create a VIBER account, enter your cell phone number and then provide your Facebook details or name and image. Tap a contact, type a message in the chat field, and tap the bear icon to add a sticker. Tap the phone icon to make a voice call; tap the microphone and hold to record a voice message. Tap the "x" to view image-based message options (photo, gallery, video, doodle, location). Two check marks mean the message was delivered. Access account settings by tapping on the gear icon.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Viber is an impressive, free messaging app that includes more privacy and customization options than some similar apps. It works well (sound quality reportedly varies, depending upon connection quality; it sounded just fine during this review), and it's visually appealing. You can view your contacts who use Viber under one column and those who don't under a "Viber Out" column, which makes it easy to distinguish which are free and which will need in-app purchase credits to call.

Although the ability to call and message any other Viber user (even internationally) for free is the big draw, the options to draw or doodle on messages, change message backgrounds, and choose from thousands of stickers are fun creative perks that may nudge this app up the favorites list. Some of the stickers in the in-app purchase sticker packs are not for kids, but they can easily be avoided by sticking with the free ones. Viber is a standout in the growing crowd of messaging apps.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about messaging apps. Read Common Sense's Trend Alert about messaging apps and talk to your teen about why it's not a good idea to share iffy secrets online.

  • Remind your teen that Viber's ​free status depends on messaging and calling others who also have the app; otherwise, they (or you) have to purchase credits. To find out more about different calling rates, go to Viber Out

  • Even though the alcohol-related stickers on Viber can be (mostly) avoided by not going to the in-app purchase sticker packs, their existence on a messaging app displays the prevalence of alcohol use in all forms of media. To learn more about portrayals of alcohol and how they may affect your teen, watch Common Sense's Dealing with Drinking in the Media video.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Fire phone, Kindle Fire, Apps for Windows, Windows Phone
Price:Free (with in-app purchases)
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:May 8, 2014
Category:Social Networking
Size:37.20 MB
Publisher:Viber Media
Version:4.2.1
Minimum software requirements:iOS 6.0 or later, Android 2.2 and up.

This review of Viber was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byamandafran February 15, 2015
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

I love this app

This app is great! It's like texting and social media at the same time. Sure some of the stickers may have some swearing and bad language but overall most of the stickers are kinda cute. Its like whatsapp but even BETTER. WARNING: Please note that even though you only have access to your contacts, kids will use this to their advantage and will post innapropiate or private information thinking that only their friends (or anyone in the chat) can see it. Also note that viber has a new public chat feature which I do NOT recommend for children under 16.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism

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