A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know Whisper is a social "confessional" app that allows users to post whatever's on their mind, which is then paired with an image. All too often, those whispers are sexual -- and sometimes so are users trying to meet with other users for sex. There's copious strong language and sexual images (though no actual sex is shown). The app also encourages private communications in which users can exchange images and personal information. The iOS app requires users to confirm they're at least 17 years old before they download the app. It is absolutely not an app for children.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Users post whatever's on their minds by typing it into a blank field. Then the app suggests what it feels is an appropriate image to accompany the thought. The confessor can opt to go with that image or upload one of his or her own. These "whispers" can be browsed by topic, by nearby location, by popularity, and by time posted.
Is it any good?
Although WHISPER is a phenomenally popular app, it's not one for kids. Themes of sexual desire and self-loathing flow uninterrupted. Some users use it to try to hook up with someone nearby, while others post "confessions," though many of these appear to be simply an attempt to become one of the entries in the "popular" field. The images are eye-catching, in part because they rely heavily on lingerie-clad models and shirtless men. And the language is raw.
Adults using the app may find the occasional thought-provoking topic, whereby someone posts a serious whisper that prompts helpful responses, such as how to deal with tricky social situations. It's easy to see how Whisper can be an addicting app, but it's best for adults only.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about "anonymous" apps and how anonymity may affect users' behavior.
Many whispers seem to be an attempt to get replies and likes (called "hearts"). Talk about how to evaluate whether a user might be stretching the truth to get a response.
The images in Whisper could lead to some uncomfortable discussions about the sexualization of everyday topics.
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