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ZEPETO

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
ZEPETO App Poster Image
Cute but buggy avatar maker has ads, materialism, strangers.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Created for entertainment, and while there's some opportunity for creativity, there's no real learning potential.

Ease of Play

Clean, simple interface makes character creation and social media sharing easy. 

Violence

No violence in the app itself, however user-generated content could contain references to or images of violence. 

Sex

No suggestive content in the app itself, however user-generated content could contain such references.

Language

No profanity in the app itself, however user-generated content and message could contain inappropriate subject matter and profanity. 

Consumerism

Users can earn in-app currency to purchase digital items, but the app promotes the item store (and increases the temptation to spend real money on in-app currency) every time you open it. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

No references to drinking, drugs, or smoking in the app itself, however user-generated content could contain such references.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Zepeto is a freemium social media app that lets users create 3D characters of themselves. The app requires access to your phone's camera, microphone, and gallery, and creates characters by taking new photos. In-app currency is offered as a reward for registration (registering requires an email or connection to Facebook, Google, or WeChat account) and currency is used to buy things in the in-app item shop. You can earn it by playing a simple mini-game or buy it with real-world money. Users are encouraged to “discover” and connect with other Zepeto avatars, to take photos and videos of their avatars, and to share these creations online. It's possible to connect with strangers, but it's also possible to only follow your friends. The developers do share information with advertisers. 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

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 12 years old December 16, 2018

Pretty Good.

I think it is 12 and up because you can chat with other people. Like I think you can disable the chat. And a lot of people don't even chat on it because it... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 12, 2018

OOOh

Okay, if I should tell the truth - the app is horrible. You create an avatar like you, customize the hair, clothes, and more. Then you add greetings, like your... Continue reading

What's it about?

ZEPETO is a free social media app that lets you create a 3D digital character (called a Zepeto) from a picture of yourself and share it on social media. Auto-generated characters can be customized with a series of menus and sliders that let you alter things like hair style/color, face shape, eye shape/color, and clothing style. New users start with a handful of simple items and are encouraged to unlock/buy more with in-app currency. Currency is earned by playing a simple mini-game, or can be bought with real-world cash. In-app ads encourage users to visit the item shop, which carries a range of vanity items (clothing, hairstyles, accessories) as well as furniture, flooring, and wall décor for each avatar's custom “home.” Completing “Quests” (watching ads) also unlocks items. You can follow and “like” other Zepetos, search for Zepetos via friend code, follow Zepetos suggested by the app, or “meet” other Zepetos in a place called “Z Street.” Built-in screenshot and video tech lets you take pictures and videos of your Zepetos and share them through social media.

Is it any good?

Upgrading your virtual self with stuff is irresistible to many and fun for some, but the ads, purchases, and chat with strangers makes it best for older teens. This simple app is a “gimme” as far as social media popularity goes. Like other character-creation apps, it lets users create perfect fantasy versions of themselves in digital 3D and customize them with heaps of digital items, which allows for some degree of creativity. And it's definitely cute with appealing graphics and some entertainment value. Though using 3D avatars for online ID could be safer for your kids than using actual photos of themselves, it could also help them misrepresent themselves online -- and let others do the same. Since the app's main thrust is sharing images and videos of avatars on social media, this could definitely be an issue. Parents could also object to the app's emphasis on representation and item collection, since it encourages status-seeking and materialism. The desire to collect followers and “likes” with fancy custom avatars could push kids to buy, thus obsessively playing the currency mini-game to earn in-app gold or pestering parents for real-world cash. An in-app Quest system is meant as a means of earning currency, but the system is broken as of this writing. Until the system's fixed, users are pushed to watch ads. Unfortunately, in addition to the Quest system, other parts of the interface are also broken or only partially functional. Parents might not love the idea of their kids watching ad after ad, and the app's anonymous Follow function and direct messaging might not thrill them either. All told, it's an imperfect but entertaining app that's best for older teens if you know how -- and how much -- your kids are using it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Discuss internet safety and talking to strangers online in apps like Zepeto. What kind of information should you never share online? Why is it risky to talk to strangers online?

  • Families can talk about "keeping up with the Joneses." How important is social status to your kids, and how connected is it to material things? 

  • Think about how your kids' online personas. What are the possible consequences of misrepresenting yourself online? 

  • Talk about in-app purchases and the temptation to buy more features. What are your rules and limits?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free (with ads and optional in-app purchases)
  • Release date: November 21, 2018
  • Category: Social Networking
  • Size: 126.80 MB
  • Publisher: SNOW Corporation
  • Version: 2.3
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.0 or later; Android 5.1 and up

For kids who love sharing their creativity on social media

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