What is GroupMe and is It Safe?
Does your child use the popular group messaging app GroupMe? If so, you’re probably wondering if it’s safe. Like other chat apps, it has the potential for kids to encounter concerning activities. In this post, we’ll break down what exactly GroupMe is and explain some of the dangers specific to this app.
What is GroupMe and How Does It Work?
Users sign up with their Facebook credentials, Microsoft/Skype logins, phone numbers, or email addresses, and they are then able to send private or group messages to other people. GroupMe messaging works across platforms — all you need is a device (iPhone, Android, computer, or tablet) and Wi-Fi or data to get connected.
GroupMe is primarily a group chatting app, but it also provides an option for direct messaging between individuals. Group members can splinter into smaller groups once they have each other’s contact information. Additionally, everyone can send direct messages to anyone else in the group.
One reason people like using GroupMe is that it’s easy to use for those who have phones with different operating systems. There are some fun features to use like gifs and special emojis. Kids mainly use it to keep up with friends and find out about homework assignments.
But do you really know what your kids are doing there? It’s not always funny gifs and poop emojis. GroupMe is one of the top social media sites parents should be monitoring. Take a look at some potential dangers and how you can monitor them.
Access to Sexual Content
One major concern with GroupMe is how easy it is for kids to encounter sexual content through GIFs and videos. Kids can easily find this media in one place and there are no in-app parental controls to limit searches to kid-friendly ones.
You Can’t Delete Past Posts
GroupMe gives your kids no way to delete past content they’ve posted. A simple screenshot passed around of a past heated discussion expounds the reach of a minor mistake.
Cyberbullying can certainly happen on GroupMe as with any other messaging app. Kids can gang up on one chat member making them feel ostracized or cyberbullied. Screenshots are taken and posted on other social sites adding to the feelings of isolation and lack of understanding or help.
Controversial Group Chats
In some reviews of the app, you’ll see a few parents complaining about group chats with offensive titles. Your kids might join a chat started by friends of friends you don’t even know. They could end up discussing something you don’t want your kids exposed to, like drugs or sexual acts.
Changing the title of a group chat can also become a form of cyberbullying itself. What if your teen was in a group chat and someone changed the title of the group to, “[Your child’s name] is a thot!” When even the name of a group chat can become part of cyberbullying, it’s important to be aware of this. Furthermore, it’s also important to have many conversations with your kids about these topics. Empower them with the knowledge on how and why they should leave such group chats.
Adding and removing members of a group chat also becomes a way to cyberbully and isolate. Each time a group member is added or removed, a message shows up as part of the group chat. These adds and removals can become serious as kids fight over who can be a part of their group, but no real discussion takes place. Instead, there are just heated additions and removals, and hurt feelings.
Monitor GroupMe with Bark
Bark lets you monitor your kids’ online activities, including GroupMe. You’ll receive texts and/or email alerts when your child experiences a potential online issue like cyberbullying, sexting, or online predators.
Most importantly, Bark is able to monitor your child’s group messages and private messages on GroupMe, including images and media associated with each. Sign up today and start monitoring your child’s GroupMe account.
Bark is a comprehensive online safety solution that empowers families to monitor content, manage screen time, and filter websites to help protect their kids online. Our mission is to give parents and guardians the tools they need to raise kids in the digital age.