App review by
Ana Beltran, Common Sense Media
VSCO App Poster Image
Edit, post pics and video; send messages, some iffy images.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can explore different ways to edit images by manipulating exposure, contrast, white balance, and other lighting and color tools. They will also be able to edit photos using the app’s presets or presets they develop themselves. This tool promotes creativity and the use of a digital platform to edit and refine photographs. 

Ease of Play

There's no tutorial and users who are new to photo editing or sharing apps will have to play around with it in order to figure out how it works and how to take advantage of its features. Navigating requires trial and error, unless you purchase membership and have access to tutorials and tips. 


The “Community Guidelines” state that, “there’s no place for hate on VSCO,” and therefore will take down and report content that promotes hate or violence towards people or animals. However, shared material may present violent themes.


The “Community Guidelines” clearly states that there is no nudity allowed; however, some users post sexy pictures that show lots of skin. Pictures of nudes, strategically covering their private parts, may appear on the feed as well as other suggestive material. They guidelines also state that they will remove all images that are sexually explicit or sexualize kids. 


Explicit language may appear in members’ photo captions and/or through messaging. 


Kids will have access to some features through the free platform, but annual membership is required to unlock all features and present options. Some photographs depicting current trends, style, and destinations may promote consumerism. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some images may celebrate or depict drinking, drugs, and/or smoking. Specific searches turn up photos of marijuana and alcoholic beverages.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that VSCO is a photo and video app that offers editing tools to create new content, allows users to explore tips and tutorials, and promotes communication through the sharing of images and direct messaging with members of the creative community. The free version of the app gives users access to standard photo editing tools and some of VSCO’s presets, but membership is required in order to access tips, tutorials, video editing tools, and all other photo editing tools and presets. Similar to Instagram, users can browse and like images that appear on their feed. They can also share their own images, follow other users, and communicate directly with other members who follow them back through messaging. However, there are no public likes, public comments, or public follower counts. The Community Guidelines state that material posted should be appropriate for all audiences; however, that is subjective and some images portray suggestive, sexy material and other material that may be considered too explicit for kids. Searches can also turn up images for marijuana and alcohol. There's a feature that allows users to flag inappropriate images for removal. Location data appears on shared images and when exporting unless turned off in the privacy settings. The sharing feature allows users to share/export directly to platforms other than VSCO, such as Facebook, Snapchat, or WhatsApp. After registering, the app asks permission to send notifications and access contacts, tne camera, and photos. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDontBeStrict December 31, 2020

Photo Editing

Parents, as a parent who always goes to common sense media when my kid ask to watch something or download an app I don’t know about, my 12 year old daughter ask... Continue reading
Adult Written bySandes April 16, 2019
Teen, 13 years old Written bydinglehopper13 December 25, 2019

Pretty safe and fun!

This app is a good way to share fun pictures of yourself and friends or pictures that you find interesting. I have gotten many crafty ideas for hangouts, rooms,... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byhstvsfgvgkj June 13, 2019

Age Appropriate.

It’s a new fun way to make fun content to show your friends. No likes or comments so it’s not a competition.

What's it about?

VSCO is a photo editing and media sharing tool. The free version gives users access to standard editing tools, such as white balance, exposure, contrast and a sampling of the available presets. Users can scroll and test out presets themselves or can tap on the “for this photo” feature, which displays a collection of suggested presets for each specific photograph. The free version also allows users to explore others’ photos and find inspiration in curated portfolios that include collections such as “humankind,” “editorial,” “summer,” and “style” to name a few. Users can share their images and videos to the app’s feed and/or share them directly from VSCO to other social media or digital platforms, including Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, email, or text. Paid membership grants users access to over 170 presets and more sophisticated editing tools, including editing tools for video and vintage film re-creation. Membership also opens the door to photo challenges, editing tips, and tutorials. User’s edited photos are collected in their personal studio. They can also design a journal entry, which allows them to tell a story with a collection of their favorite photos. Users can also edit videos and post them to VSCO. And members can create a DSCO, which is essentially a GIF.

In addition to editing photos and creating content, kids will be able to directly communicate with users if they mutually follow each other. VSCO users can follow other members to consistently see their content on their feed and to communicate with them through private messaging. A tool for artistic self expression and inspiration, the material posted represents diverse interests, points of view, and realities. Most of the material is appropriate for all ages, but some material depicts sexy, suggestive, or substance-related material. Users can report inappropriate content -- such as nudity or violence -- for removal.

Is it any good?

This comprehensive editing tool promotes unique content and communication with members of the creative community, but it's a bit tricky to figure out at first and has some iffy images. VSCO is versatile in that users can just edit and post pictures and video or also take advantage of the social elements. Its feed is more a collection of professional photographs, editorial, and creative images than Instagram, and there's an emphasis on the editing tool and creation of unique images. The preset suggestions for each photograph are also pretty cool, especially if you are new to editing and find it overwhelming to sift through all the possible options. Unfortunately, the interface isn't super clear, and learning to navigate the app with enough proficiency in order to take full advantage of its features will take some trial and error. 

Like with any tool that has a social media component, there are some features that parents need to be aware of. The good news is that without public comments, likes, or follower counts some of the pressures and toxicity of other social media is taken out of the equation. However, the app collects and shares location data unless turned off in the settings, so kids sharing images will also be sharing their location. While images, captions, likes, and followers are public information, direct messaging adds a private component, allowing kids to talk with other members without oversight. In terms of images, during the time of review there was a sprinkle of provocative images, like women in bathing suits or skimpy outfits, some provacative poses. Specific searches also surface images of marijuana and alcohol, and while users can report inappropriate material for removal, it's unlikely pictures that might strike parents as inappropriate would be removed since the app is really designed for adults. Despite its drawbacks, VSCO is a solid editing tool for teens. Users will find that even the features in the free version are enough to create unique images. With some conversations about messaging and parental oversight, teens who are into photography and art will likely enjoy VSCO and find inspiration in the work posted by the community. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about using social media responsibly when using VSCO. Teens will see art through the lens of diverse users and will be able to communicate with artists from all over the world. Discuss reporting images that display nudity, are sexually explicit, or portray violence. Discuss how to use the messaging feature responsibly and when to report alarming communication to a grownup. 

  • Talk about composition, photo techniques, and editing ideas to promote kids’ creativity and help them develop their own style. 

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Subjects: Arts: film, photography
  • Skills: Creativity: imagination, innovation, making new creations, producing new content
    Communication: multiple forms of expression
    Tech Skills: digital creation, social media
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Paid, Free (The app is free but there's an optional membership plan for $19.99 per year. This upgrade includes 200+ exclusive presets and tools.)
  • Release date: March 25, 2019
  • Category: Photo & Video
  • Size: 141.20 MB
  • Publisher: Visual Supply Company
  • Version: 105.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 11.0 or later; Android 4.4 and up
  • Last updated: June 20, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love photography and creativity

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.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate