A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
WHATSAPP MESSENGER uses push notifications to allow users to send each other unlimited text messages without data limits or international charges. As with most messaging apps, teens can send text, videos, documents, and GIFs to individuals or groups, make calls, and use filters. Within a chat, teens can use Live Location to share where they are and stop sharing whenever they choose. The status feature allows users to share updates with all of their contacts at once, or they can also use the broadcast feature to send out messages to selected contacts.
Is it any good?
Families with some members living or traveling internationally will find this tool valuable. The voice-messaging feature's impressively clear audio is a plus, as are group texting and check marks that confirm messages have been sent and read. As the app adds fun and cosmetic features, it stays competitive with some of the other top apps for teens, and its no-fee system makes it appealing, especially for those with family and friends in other countries. It presents the same hazards as other social media apps but is message-focused and has more family-friendly reputation. The biggest pitfalls are probably huge group messages and disappearing messages, so parents should talk to teens about the potential hazards -- and their limits around -- these features.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about limits with WhatsApp Messenger and other apps: During what hours are kids allowed to text? How much screen use are they allowed?
Talk about the types of information that are best shared in text messages and the types best discussed in person. Let kids know that tone isn't always clear, and emojis can't fill in every blank.
Discuss location sharing and the risks it has. When might it be useful to share your location, and with whom? When is it a bad idea?
- Devices: iPhone, Mac, Android, Windows app
- Skills: Communication: conveying messages effectively, multiple forms of expression
Tech Skills: social media, using and applying technology
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: October 30, 2019
- Category: Social Networking
- Topics: Friendship
- Size: 152.70 MB
- Publisher: WhatsApp Inc.
- Version: 2.19.22
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later; Android varies
- Last updated: September 4, 2020
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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.