We’re getting back into the new year with our regular blog series “What Parents Should Know” where we explore popular apps kids are using and break them down for parents. For the first entry of 2015 I was asked at a recent parent night in Armonk, NY about the video chat app ooVoo.
ooVoo is a video client, similar to Skype, which allows users to communicate through instant messaging, voice and video chat. The conferencing software allows users to communicate with up to 12 others simultaneously. The app is available through both Android and IOS as well as on desktop or laptop computers.
While Facetime through iPhones and iPods is popular with most students, it is limited to one on one chatting. ooVoo allows large groups to communicate making it great for homework study groups.
After playing around with the app and the desktop site I find no real issues with the program as long as users are smart about privacy and safety.
Here is my advice to create a safe and private environment on ooVoo!
1) As a reminder, like a large majority of social apps out there, users must be at least 13 years old in order to sign up for ooVoo.
2) While creating your profile, you are not required to put your entire name. Youngsters should just be putting their first name to help keep themselves safe.
3) Create a username that doesn’t include personal information like your name, location or age.
4) When adding a profile picture, video or status update be sure that there is no revealing information that can be found in them. Remembering that little things can add up to a lot when it comes to information posted online through pictures and these updates.
5) Take advantage of the privacy settings (seen here)
For my ooVoo account, I set it up so only those with my e-mail address or username can find me in searches. I highly recommend this over the “Anyone” setting as it allows you to control who has access to you.
Also note that your profile picture, display name and online status are always public in your profile.
As I’ve mentioned before with a number of username based apps, it’s important to keep this information private. Reminds kids not to share usernames to chat sites within their profiles elsewhere. It drives me insane when I see Kik, Snapchat and other usernames posted within public Instagram or other profiles. By keeping these usernames private, it limits those who have access to them.
So to answer the question about whether or not parents should be concerned about their kids using ooVoo, the answer is no. Like most apps available, ooVoo does its best to ensure the safety and privacy of its users.
It’s up to parents to remember to have regular conversations regarding online safety and etiquette.
As always if you have questions about this or other apps please do not hesitate to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The “What Parents Should Know” blog series will be posted weekly throughout the year as time in our schedule allows.
Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit www.HaveYouMetJosh.com
You can purchase Josh’s book “Cyberbullying: Perpetrators, Bystanders & Victims” on Amazon! Available in paperback or for Kindle.