Google Hangouts

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Chat, listen, and learn on Google's communication platform.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Allowing kids to communicate with faraway family, friends, or teachers can help them maintain strong relationships.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Using Google Hangouts either requires a Gmail or Google+ account. Parents should use the same precautions here as with Facebook, or any other social network that isn't completely safe for kids. All "Google Hangouts on Air" are saved directly to a user's YouTube channel (if they have one), which may or may not be good for kids.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Google Hangouts are a way for kids, families, and teachers to communicate online for free. You can video chat, instant message, and share photos. However, to get the full range of offerings, you must sign up for Google+, Google's social networking tool. As with all social networking, kids' usage should be monitored, as there aren't any safeguards that keep it completely kid-friendly.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • discussion
  • presenting to others
  • speaking

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • problem solving
  • asking questions
  • making conclusions

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • listening
  • speaking

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • group projects

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Of course, it all depends on who you're hanging out with, but Google Hangouts can be incredibly fun. Kids will appreciate the emoji selection (special smiley face icons), and face-to-face discussions promote real engagement on any subject.

Learning Approach

Whether kids are chatting away over One Direction songs or pondering string theory, they'll learn communication skills that transfer to the non-digital world. It's a great way to extend learning beyond the classroom.

Support

With Google's vast network of products, support is plentiful. Hangouts can be saved and revisited, which is a nice feature for learning.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • discussion
  • presenting to others
  • speaking

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • problem solving
  • asking questions
  • making conclusions

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • listening
  • speaking

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • group projects

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn how to be involved in a group conversation; little things like waiting their turn to speak, listening, and responding to others' opinions all add up to improved communication skills. When writing instant messages, either silly or school-related, they'll be challenged to get their point across in a brief, concise way; it's a fast medium that makes you think on your feet. Google Hangouts gives kids a place to express themselves, listen, and learn at the same time.

This Learning Rating review was written by cassiechism

What's it about?

Google Hangouts are simply that: hangouts that occur online -- through text or video -- with friends, family, teachers, or anyone else in your network. Users can communicate with a single person, a group, or create a \"Hangout on Air\" to broadcast their video to the world. When you're signed in to Google (through Gmail, or one of their other sites), click on \"Try Hangouts;\" you'll be prompted to install a quick plugin onto your computer. Once that's done, it's easy to start a Hangout with someone: Simply hover over their name with the mouse; a small window pops up with clickable icons for a video, chat, or email. Hangouts can also be recorded and archived if you ever want to revisit a conversation or lesson.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Google Hangouts are great! For kids who already use Gmail or Google+, getting acquainted with Google Hangouts should be pretty straightforward. Google knows how to make things user-friendly, and Hangouts is no exception; getting started is very intuitive. The ability to chat with up to 10 people at once is pretty exciting, and there's tons of potential, not only for families, but for school-related projects and group work as well.

Families can talk about...

  • Use Google Hangouts to create a family reunion of sorts; see if you can gather up to 10 family members for a five or ten-minute video chat. If it works, make it a monthly or weekly event.

  • Encourage your kids to use Google Hangouts for fun, but also as another way to stay connected with school. They can check in with classmates to talk about school-related stuff, quiz each other, find out about missing assignments, or anything else related to school. The possibilities are endless.

Website details

Genre:Video Sites
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Google Hangouts was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byI say... February 1, 2015
 
LEARNING

Really Good! There are some concerns a parent might have, though...

There are some concerns for parents, though. This is a very good site to use for contacting friends and family. However, when I signed up, I did not know it was linked to Google +, so I explored it. I joined some communities, and that's where the concerns come in. If you are a parent, view your child's communities. If they are in any communities called "Funny" or "Funny Stuff," I would view these to see if they are appropriate. I can't guarantee they will be. Also, cyber bullying can happen. If your child chooses to post things on Google +, there is a drop menu that will able you to disable the comments. That way, nobody can comment nasty or harmful things on his or her posts. If you would rather they did not post to the public, you can switch the post to "private." Keep in mind that anyone can see your child's profile and add them to their circles , allowing them to start a hangout or even a video chat with your child. If this occurs, you can block that person so it won't happen again. Have your child let you know if any bullying occurs. Make sure they tell you before they start a video chat and who is in their hangouts. Keep in mind that there are hackers out there who will try to steal their identity, so don't let them use their first and last name. They might also hack into their camera so the hackers can see them through their camera and steal their identity. Try covering up your child's camera when it isn't in use. If there are any other concerns you have before signing your child up, explore the site. I can't guarantee there isn't sexting or violence, but so far I haven't seen any. There is lots of swearing, and if a person swears on your child's post, have them tell you immediately so you can delete the post and block that person so your child can't view his or her comments. Thanks for reading my overly long review, and I hope it helped you decide.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Safety and privacy concerns
Kid, 10 years old June 8, 2014
 
LEARNING

Cool

You can chat with friends and family. You can also video chat. Say your child's best friend moves away. They can get Gmail accounts and keep in touch easily.
Parent Written byamandaw9 August 6, 2015
 
LEARNING

possible grooming space....

firstly re ratings above, have put really good as i know teens seem to like it a lot with the video chat/messaging etc. as for learning? if they really are discussing string theory then yes....but i'd say that's kinda doubtful. but its a social hangout its not meant to be for learning specifically. like most parents i always seem to be on catch up with my 14 year old when it comes to technology...but you hear him mention Google Hangout & somehow that seems to sanitise it. can't be anything dodgy going on there surely with the Google brand an all????? well yes, there can be. my son has autism & though i do respect his privacy & understand he is still a teenage boy with all the hormones & urges that may bring, i am also very aware that my son is far more vulnerable than most boys that age. had a quick glance over his Google Hangout on his phone, didn't read every message or post he had made , as really don't want to be that nosey BUT came across something called Archive. in it was one private conversation whereby a user/contact had been trying to get my son to take a video call with him, there were lots of missed video call notifications. there was very little conversation between them before the user asked my son to send a picture of his 'belly'/stomach. i suddenly felt sick. the user asked my son a few more times, trying to coax him into doing so. i'm very pleased to report that my son reacted as i have told him many times to he refused. he also told the guy he was a weirdo. not wrong there. while relieved, my son has been on this app for a while now, so how many other inappropriate conversations have there been. god forbid that any ever went to video call. my son did not inform me of this users behaviour, he did block him though. i don't wish to upset him by saying i went through his Google Hangout a/c but i will be reiterating to him that he should inform me of any inappropriateness as well as saying no to any/all photo requests. i have also disabled it on his phone, as it is easier for me to keep a check on it on his computer, also his mobile phone just seems more private somehow & i don't want the app on it. it came with the phone as its an Android device (which Google owns)
What other families should know
Safety and privacy concerns

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