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WhatsApp Messenger

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
WhatsApp Messenger App Poster Image
No text-overage worries, but teens are constantly connected.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 9 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Created for entertainment and not intended for learning.

Ease of Play

WhatsApp works on most smartphones, but users must have the app installed to send or receive messages. Colored check marks indicate messages have been sent and viewed. Push notifications indicate new messages.

Violence

No violent content in the app itself, but teens can send and receive unmonitored texts, photos, voice messages, and videos.

Sex

No sexual content in the app itself, but teens can send and receive unmonitored texts, photos, voice messages, and videos.

Language

No iffy language in the app itself, but teens can send and receive unmonitored texts, photos, voice messages, and videos.

Consumerism

Users can chat directly with businesses via the app, ads in the Status section.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

No content related to drinking, drugs, or smoking in the app itself, but teens can send and receive unmonitored texts, photos, voice messages, and videos.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that WhatsApp Messenger lets users start video calls and send encrypted text messages, videos, photos, and audio messages to one or many people with no message limits or fees. Messages can only be sent to other smartphone users who also have WhatsApp. The app checks your phone's address book for WhatsApp users and connects you automatically. It also encourages you to urge friends not using the app to sign up. The app store rates the app 4+, but its license agreement requires users to be 13 or older, and location-sharing makes it most appropriate for older teens. A new two-step verification feature uses a PIN for added account security. The app shares data with parent company Facebook, but users can opt out of this upon agreeing to the terms of use. Once users have agreed, however, the ability to opt out goes away. Users also have the option of sharing their location with those they're chatting with in the Live Location feature. Users also have the ability to send disappearing photos, videos, and GIFs through the Status feature. Read the app's privacy policy to find out more about the types of information collected and shared.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTV-007 May 24, 2019

Good Message App

Good Application, similar to Viber and Telegram
Parent of a 10, 12, 14, and 16 year old Written byRosa H. May 3, 2018

To Much Freedom for Younger Children

This app is great for older children or parents who would like to break away from facebook messenger but, there is no way for a parent to track the messages and... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLaa_Girl July 18, 2015

Not safe!!

Whats App:
This app is really dangerous and not safe this app can cause you lots of problems and you can even get bullied its really really really dangerous app... Continue reading

What's it about?

WHATSAPP MESSENGER uses push notifications to allow users to send each other unlimited text messages without data limits. Messages are encrypted (completely private) and users can literally "send a million messages a day" and not be charged (except for whatever data fees apply according to your carrier's plan). 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 app shares user data with parent company Facebook unless users opt out when they first download the app.

Is it any good?

This app has a lot of great features, but parents may find the idea of their teens having unlimited messaging -- as well as location sharing and constant status updates -- unappealing, at best.  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.

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 time 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?

App details

  • 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: December 12, 2013
  • Category: Social Networking
  • Size: 18.60 MB
  • Publisher: WhatsApp Inc.
  • Version: 2.11.7
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.3 or later; Android 2.1 and up
  • Last updated: May 31, 2012

For kids who love to express themselves

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