12 Social Media Apps All Parents Should Know Series-Day 4

12SMapp_4Welcome to Day 4 of the 12 Social Media Apps All Parents Should Know Series.

This week we’re talking about 12 social media apps popular with teens.
Some of these might be familiar to you. Others might be new to you.

Yesterday we discussed Vine, Wanelo and Kik. If you missed that post you can view it here.

Today we’re talking about Oovoo, Pheed, and Ask.fm

Tomorrow I’ll wrap up our week by posting all 12 social media apps in one post. I also post my thoughts on the social media apps we’re using in my home. This list isn’t meant to steer you away from these apps. Instead, I want to give you insight into so you can work through the pros and cons of each, and set up the privacy settings that work for your family. My hope is we’ll end the week as parents who are a bit more informed.

Let’s jump in today!



Oovoo is a free video, voice, and messaging app. Users can have group chats with up to 12 people for free. The premium version removes ads from the service if you want to use the service free of ads.

What Teens Say

Teens mostly use Oovoo to hang out with friends. Many log on after school and keep it up while doing homework. Oovoo can be great for group studying and it makes it easy for kids to receive “face to face” homework help from classmates. In addition to the video feature you can can send files and screenshare on Oovoo so using it for group projects is ideal.

What Parents Should Know

You can only chat with approved friends. Users can only communicate with those on their approved “contact list,” which can help ease parents’ safety concerns.

Because Oovoo makes video chatting so affordable and accessible, it can also be addicting. A conversation with your kids about setting boundaries with their time may be in order.




Pheed is best described as a hybrid of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube but you can require others to pay a premium to access your personal channel.

What Teens Say

Pheed’s multimedia “all in one” offering seems to be capturing teens’ attention the most. Some teens also like the fact that they have more control over ownership and copyright, since Pheed allows its users to watermark their original content.

What Parents Should Know

According to Forbes, Pheed has swiftly become the No. 1 free social app in the App Store. And it’s largely because teens have flocked there. We’ll be watching to see if musicians, artists and celebrities begin using Pheed to promote themselves. If so, Pheed would allow them a platform to charge their fans a small fee to view what they post.

Users can make money by charging others a subscription fee to access their content. They can get between $1.99 to $34.99 per view, or the same price range per month. A cut of all proceeds goes to Pheed.

Privacy updates are in the works. Currently all posts are public by default and therefore searchable online.




Ask.fm is a social site that lets kids ask questions and answer those posted by other users. Sometimes they are asking and answering anonymously.

What Teens Say

There are some friendly interactions on Ask.fm and the ability to toss out a question or answer one is appealing for many teens. There are lots of mean comments and some creepy sexual posts. This iffy content can also be the appeal of the site for some teens. Some of what you’ll see there is reality show shocking and does have that “I can’t believe they said that” draw to it.

What Parents Should Know

Parents need to know that this social site lets kids ask questions and answer questions posted by other users. Bullying is a major concern. In fact, the British news website MailOnline reported that the site has been linked to the suicides of several teens. As with many social sites, some users keep things friendly and clean, while others post hateful comments or sexual come-ons. Kids have the option of recording themselves with a webcam answering a question. The site doesn’t monitor content, but users can report behavior that’s violent, pornographic, or contains hate speech.

Talk to your teens about cyberbullying and how anonymity can encourage mean behavior.

Anonymous answers are optional. Users can decide whether to allow anonymous posts and can remove their answers from streaming to decrease their profile’s visibility. If your teens do use the site, they’d be best turning off anonymous answers and keeping themselves out of the live stream.



  1. Adam Fletcher on December 7, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    On Oovoo, you say “You can only chat with approved friends. Users can only communicate with those on their approved “contact list,” which can help ease parents’ safety concerns.”

    But these are not the default settings on Oovoo, which are instead for your account to be public and accessible to anybody. You have to go in and change those settings to protect your privacy, and given the model of how Facebook behaves about privacy settings, you almost certainly have to check from time to time that the service hasn’t introduced a new default and reset your privacy to ‘open’.

    (Apologies for a reply 18 months after the article was written – I’m a teacher just looking into Child Protection and Oovoo today).

    • Leah Nieman on December 7, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      No apologies needed. I always love discussion when it comes to online safety. Yes, you are correct. Default settings for new accounts are public and accessible to anybody. That’s pretty much the standard rule of thumb for platforms with an age requirement of 13 yrs and older. What I appreciated about ooVoo is they do give the users (or parents working with their kids) choices. Going through general and privacy settings should be something we do when setting a new account. I suggest going through them with our kids. And, visit those settings routinely to check for changes.

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