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Is Fizz Safe? A Fizz App Review for Parents

Overall Rating:
⭐ 1.5 / 5

Overview

Overall Rating: ⭐ 1.5 / 5

Recommended Age: 17 and up

When a new social media app aimed at students comes out, it seems to have explosive popularity initially, and then over time fades away from most campuses. Yik Yak had a comeback recently, and last year, the app Saturn made some big waves during the back-to-school season.

This year, the latest social media app for high schoolers and college kids is Fizz. Created by two Stanford students, Fizz is meant to be the one-stop shop for all things student life. It has all the staple social media features — a public feed, private DMs, and the ability to post and comment with GIFs, images, and more. This means it also has all the same dangers that every other social media platform has.

Fizz has found its way into the news cycle for causing some significant drama at schools across the U.S. One school in Vermont had issues of students making fun of kids’ disabilities and speculating about students’ sexualities within the app. Due to the apparent toxic nature of this app, other schools in states like Florida and North Carolina have already taken steps to ban it

You probably already have some concerns about Fizz — and rightly so. But we did a deep into this app so you know what the risks are if your child uses Fizz. 

Harmful Content 😲

Rating:

Tons of high school and college publications have reported how Fizz is host to a ton of inappropriate content. Students have spread hurtful messages relating to race, sexuality, disabilities, and more. Rumors have spread about drug and alcohol use at parties, as well as dating and relationship gossip. Essentially, all the typical high school drama is plastered online for all to see and perpetuated more easily than ever. 

Fizz does have moderators to uphold their community standards. The moderation team is made up of students who supposedly go through extensive training. They have the power to remove posts that violate standards. But again, based on the anecdotal evidence from schools from all over the country, this moderation team seems to have little impact. 

Also, parents should note that Fizz offers students the chance to become an ambassador to get Fizz launched at their school — and Fizz says they’ll actually pay kids to be an ambassador. So beware of the monetary incentive that may entice some kids to engage with Fizz that otherwise probably wouldn’t.

Predation 🚨

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One thing about Fizz is that they’re pretty thorough when it comes to verifying who can use the app. First, the school admin has to allow Fizz to launch at their school. Then, students and staff must use their verified school email in order to sign up. If you’re not verified with your email, you have zero access to the app’s features. 

This minimizes the chances of a stranger ending up on the app — but it’s not impossible. These things are hardly ever foolproof (for example, what if someone who already graduated still has an active school email?). Additionally, the app has private DMs, which is always a red flag for predation. If an adult with inappropriate intentions towards a student is on the app, they can use private DMs for grooming tactics without any supervision. 

Positive Value 💙

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There’s certainly nothing wrong with encouraging students to make connections with one another, as Fizz claims is its goal. But it doesn’t seem necessary to do these things through a social media app that presents such risks as bullying, gossip, and more. 

Fizz and other campus apps always sound great — until kids who are still learning how to be mature digital citizens actually start using them. Then, the platform just becomes yet another avenue for drama and immature decisions that kids don’t need to be tempted with.

Privacy 🔒

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Fizz takes privacy very seriously, Just looking through their FAQ page, they address the topic of privacy extensively. They are transparent that they will never misuse user data, and users can be completely anonymous if they so choose. 

This kind of privacy can sometimes be a Catch-22. On the one hand, it’s great for kids to be anonymous online, because their digital footprint is better protected. However, kids may use their anonymity in immature or harsh ways. Kids may be more likely to make a risky post or DM because they think the anonymity will protect them from any consequences. And we’ve seen this to be a likely scenario in other schools already. 

Parental Controls ✅

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Fizz does not have any parental controls. But as always, Bark can help! With Bark, you can:

  • Block Fizz entirely, if needed. 
  • Manage when your child can use Fizz throughout the day. 

So, should my kid download it?

We do not recommend using this app if it’s allowed at your kid’s school. And if it’s not, we would not suggest taking any steps towards bringing it to your school. These student apps gain lots of fast traction when they’re first released, but their popularity usually doesn’t last in the same way apps like TikTok and Snapchat do.

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