What It Is:
Whisper has a total of 17 billion monthly page views on its mobile and desktop websites with 250 million monthly users, mostly teens, across 187 countries. Anonymous users post “secrets” along with an image that the app chooses for the statement posted. Users communicate by messages, either publicly or privately, and to interact with a whisper, users have three options: heart, reply and direct message. The heart button shows appreciation, the reply button lets users share a whisper in response, and direct message allows users to contact the confessor privately. Users don’t have a public identity in the app and there is no way to contact them except through the messages they post.
What Parents Need to Know:
The Whisper app asks users to confirm they are 17 or older before downloading. However, this rule is not strictly enforced and children as young as 12 have been known to use the app. According to Common Sense Media, “Although WHISPER is a phenomenally popular app, it’s not one for kids. Themes of sexual desire and self-loathing flow uninterrupted. Some users use it to try to hook up with someone nearby, while others post “confessions,” though many of these appear to be simply an attempt to become one of the entries in the “popular” field. The images are eye-catching, in part because they rely heavily on lingerie-clad models and shirtless men. And the language is raw.” Various sources are very clear in stating that this app is absolutely not for kids.
Project B3’s Tips & Suggestions:
- Talk to your kids about the importance of protecting your identity on so-called ‘anonymous apps’.
- Remind them to be extra cautious when interacting on anonymous apps because you can never be sure whom you are interacting with.
- Whether users may exaggerate the truth for ‘hearts’ on the Whisper app.
- Anonymous apps are the perfect place for online predators and cyberbullies to find vulnerable people.