A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wishbone is a survey app asking teens to choose between two various things. Though it's rated 17+, the terms of service specify it's for ages 13 and older and forbid sexually explicit and illegal content. Teens can connect via Facebook or Twitter or skip logging in. Survey questions range from "who wore it better," with some images featuring scantily clad women or topless men, to product or location preferences. Most are pretty innocent, though one darker question asks whether you'd rather die on the Titanic or the Hindenburg. Teens can report offensive content by swiping, but there's no way around the frequent ads, which as mostly for other apps such as Kim Kardashian: Hollywood -- or the huge amount of information handed to marketers.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Which do you like better? WISHBONE wants your opinion. Teens can answer 12 new questions each day that are usually a combination of pictures, 10-second videos, and text. City or country? Spaghetti or lasagna? Which would you rather be haunted by? After answering, users can see percentages of how others answered. They also can answer community surveys, 50 questions at a time. Polls can be shared via social media, and teens can report objectionable content with a swipe. There's no topic choice and no way to skip a question. Ads interrupt the quizzes every few minutes, and users have to wait a few minutes after completing the 50 community questions before a new set becomes available. User also can create their own polls by uploading images.
Is it any good?
Everybody likes to share opinions, and here teens can exercise limited creativity in creating polls, but this free app does come with a price: the data collected from how users answer and frequent in-app ads. Generally, the polls are tame and appealing to kids. They reinforce mainstream cultural messages with pictures of scantily clad celebrities, judgments about fashion, and overall superficiality, but there's nothing inherently mean-spirited or degrading. To avoid more targeted data collection, teens don't have to connect through their social media profiles if they don't want to log in, which might be the best choice.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about media literacy and how to question messages. Ask kids why a company would create a free app such as this one and how it makes money from it.
Discuss how some questions portray stereotypes of attractiveness and value. For more information, read Boys, Girls, and Media Messages.
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