In this day and age, it’s hard not to expose your child to the world of the Internet. Everybody has become accustomed to communicating through popular social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Even kids nowadays have unlimited access to online games and streaming services.
You might have also already heard about the new social media app Clubhouse. It has gained so much popularity recently that according to App Annie, the mobile app has already exceeded 8 million global downloads since it was released in April last year.
Although, no matter how popular this app is, it’s definitely not one of the most kid-friendly social media apps out there.
Image source: iStock
What Is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is an invitation-only social media platform where users interact with each other through audio, like a regular call but in a group/room. You can choose to enter a variety of virtual ‘rooms’ where the creator or moderator of the room allows participants to raise hands to join in on the conversation.
It also allows users to interact and share stories as well as play music. It also lets users conduct interviews, talk shop and exchange ideas for new projects.
According to CNBC, the app–developed by entrepreneurs Paul Davison and Rohan Seth–was already valued at about $100 million. With its rising popularity, public figures such as Elon Musk, Lindsey Lohan, Chrissy Teigen and Oprah Winfrey have already joined in says The New York Times.
With such innovative features, it’s no wonder the public has become really interested in the app despite it being invite-only.
Why You Should Keep Your Kids Off The App
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While it’s a good platform for adults, it’s not the best place for kids to hang out. Here’s why:
1. The minimum age of the app is 18-years
Just like most social media apps, Clubhouse’s community guidelines dictate that users be up to at least 18-years-old to join.
Although, despite the age limit, the platform doesn’t actually have an age verification tool. So be careful if your child happens to stumble upon Clubhouse. It’s also noted that user under 18 may be removed as violation of the app’s terms of service.
2. Could expose them to hateful or abusive language
Developers of the app clarify that Clubhouse is purely voice-based so you could use it without having to worry about “eye contact, what you’re wearing, or where you are.” So once you get in a virtual room, you can choose to voice out your opinions and ideas freely.
While it may be fun to join in on discussions, this also give anyone the freedom to speak in what may be hateful and abusive language.
3. Stranger danger!
Seeing how easy it is for users to simply join in on virtual rooms and interact with anyone, this could potentially lead your child to encounter people with harmful intentions.
You may have already taught them how to speak to strangers and the app does encourage users to be respectful. But you never know what could happen once you leave your little one unsupervised and they have the freedom to chat with people.
There is also no option in Clubhouse to set your profile to private which allows any users to freely view all the information you share in the app. It would be hard to tell what other users may post and whether it would be appropriate for your kid to see.
While Clubhouse is not exactly suitable for younger kids to use, it can actually be a great app for parents to interact and connect. According to TODAY, there are already groups in the app that can provide support and resource for mummies and daddies alike.
You may find clubs like “BLK MOTHERHOOD,” “Let’s Talk Motherhood,” “Co-Parenting Chronicles” and more!
Kid-Friendly Social Media Apps
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Clubhouse may not be the app for your kid, but there are many other social media apps that are great for them to use at their age. They also give your little one an opportunity to stay in touch with their friends online as well as learn a thing or two during their limited screentime.
Just be sure to set it up with them so that you’re both aware of its privacy settings and features. Once downloaded, ensure to monitor and keep tabs on what they post as well as what they’re searching online.
You might be hesitant to let your child create their own social media profile in the first place, but letting them join in such platforms will help them learn more about cyber safety growing up.
Here are a few kid-friendly social media apps that they can use in the meantime:
To unleash your kid’s creativity and safely interact with their peers, Popjam is a great social media app. Here, kids get to post their artwork as well as play fun games and take quizzes. There are different communities your child can join according to their interest and they can also follow some of their favourite influencers on the app.
For the safety of your kids, the app uses moderators and has posts limited only to the hours between 6:00AM and 11:00PM. Parents may even learn more about online safety for kids on the site.
2. Messenger Kids
Similar to the original Facebook Messenger app, Messenger Kids is a platform where kids get all the fun features of its alternative, except its more kid-friendly and safe for children under 13 years to use. It has live photo filters, GIFs and even a video chatting option for your child to call their friends!
Parents can use their own Facebook profile to authenticate the app for their kids to use.
After creating a separate account for your child in Messenger Kids, you can also have access to a Parent Dashboard where you can manage your child’s account.
Kids get to learn a lot about social media safety with GeckoLife as it has privacy features that are designed for your child’s safety. While it’s not specifically made for children, the app is a safe enough platform for younger kids to develop their social media skills.
Of course, it is still best to use it alongside your kid to monitor their usage and screen time.
4. YouTube Kids
It’s probably no surprise to you that YouTube is the largest social network in Singapore, being one of the most popular streaming services online. But with the amount of content on this platform, it would be easy for your child to stumble upon a video that may be unsuitable for their age.
Luckily, YouTube Kids creates a safe online space for children to search up their favourite videos. The social media platform also makes it easier for parents to monitor what their kids are watching and can rest assure that this more contained environment of YouTube will be safe for younger children to view.
While ultimately it is your decision to allow your kids to be online, it’s also your responsibility they do it safely. Choose wise, stay safe!