What It Is:
Voxer is a walkie-talkie, push-to-talk type app that allows it’s users to exchange short, quick voice messages. They can also send texts and images. Users can chat with multiple users at a time. To hear messages you’ve received, you simply hit the play button. Many adults in certain fields use this app for their jobs, but it quickly became popular with kids and teens.
What Parents Need to Know:
Voxer is linked to some criminal cases. One involves cyberbullying which led to a teen suicide and the other to a child predator-type case. There are definite issues with this app. One is that when you sign up, with your name and email, it automatically shares your location. Also, strangers can easily contact one another. Child predators are aware of this feature of the app. The other issue is that it gives cyberbullies yet another platform. And since there is a “group chat,” setting, a group mentality of bullying has been reported.
On the flip side to this, some teachers and schools are using this app in the classroom to engage students in group work, class discussions, etc. This is a positive side to the app and we love student collaboration. When used in this way, the teacher is often the group facilitator and can oversee the interactions.
Still, if your child is using the Voxer app for school, BE SURE to enable all the privacy settings and disable the location sharing because they are most likely using it outside of just class projects.
Project B3’s Tips and Suggestions:
- Always remind and ensure your tween and teen has disabled the “Share Location” setting on all apps
- Discuss the dangers of befriending and chatting with strangers online and through messenger apps with your children
- Discuss bullying in your home. Ask questions. Provide support.