What Is NGL and Is It Safe?

The Bark Team | August 03, 2022 | Cyberbullying Internet Safety Tips

What is NGL logo

Have you heard about the NGL app? NGL stands for “not gonna lie,” a term often used right before someone confesses something potentially embarrassing or controversial. The app was designed to give Instagram users an opportunity to receive anonymous messages or reviews from their followers. If that reminds you of ASK.FM, it’s similar but not quite the same concept.

So, what is NGL, and is it safe for your kids? Let’s dig into the details.

What Is NGL?

NGL is a newer app that launched in November 2021. It works as an add-on to Instagram, allowing users to send one another messages without revealing their identities.

Think of it as a half-anonymous conversation. If you connect your Instagram account to the NGL app, you can invite your followers or anyone who comes across your IG account to send you messages. You can look in the app to read the messages but don’t know who sent them. Since they click on a link in your IG account to send the message, they do know your identity — or at least as much as you reveal through Instagram.

Thet NGL App’s Unique Algorithm

NGL tries to separate itself from ASK.FM, SendIT, and other anonymous apps by detecting bullying and inappropriate language. The algorithm highlights certain words often used by bullies or trolls and automatically removes those messages. It’s meant to reduce the risk of unkind anonymous messages making their way into message boxes.

The algorithm seems like a step up from the no-limits environment of ASK.FM, but that’s only if it actually works all the time. There are many unkind messages that still make their way into message boxes because there’s no way an algorithm can detect the intention behind every message sent. Somewhere, bullying will slip through the cracks.

How Does the NGL App Work?

If you want to use the NGL app, you follow these steps:

  • Download NGL onto your mobile device. It’s available for Apple and Android devices.
  • When prompted on the app, you enter your Instagram handle and connect your account to the app.
  • Next, you copy the link provided on the app and enter it into your Instagram story or bio.
  • Now your followers can click your NGL  and send you anonymous messages.
  • Any received messages will show up in the NGL app.
  • You can post some of the reviews or messages to your Instagram account if you want.

Is the NGL App Free?

It’s free to download the NGL app and connect it to your social media, and you can receive unlimited messages for free. There is a paid upgrade that allows you to receive hints to help you detect who sent the messages you receive. Many reviews of the app express disappointment in that feature because the hints are so vague or nonsensical that they provide little to no help determining the author of a message.

NGL App and Message Authenticity

If the messages you receive on the NGL app are always anonymous, how can you be sure that they were sent by a real person? This question was the center of a legal dispute between NGL and competing anonymous app SendIt. SendIt claims NGL’s developer stole valuable information in order to create a knockoff version of their app, including the idea of sending automatically generated questions to users.

Many users have also gone online to discuss their suspicions that the messages they receive aren’t really coming from their followers or friends on social media. The evidence is mounting that the app may generate random messages and send them out in order to improve engagement metrics and trick users into believing they’re getting more attention.

Is NGL Safe for Kids?

So, is NGL safe for kids? If you see some obvious problems with the NGL app for teens without even using it, you’re not alone. When kids invite the world to send them private anonymous messages, there is a lot of room for negativity and abuse. Even if the app utilizes a special algorithm trained to detect many words and phrases used by bullies and trolls, there’s no way it can detect every message with negative intentions and remove it before harm is done to the recipient.

Add that the app may send messages generated by a computer instead of a real person, and there’s even more room for confusion. Users can waste a lot of time trying to figure out who sent a specific message and may even pay to upgrade their account to receive hints. If the message isn’t from a real person, it’s a complete waste of time and money.

The Smart Way to Protect Your Kids

If you don’t want your kids to use the NGL app, talk to them about the risks and potential dangers. Explain that they can’t trust that every message is coming from a real person, and asking for anonymous interactions leaves the door open to predators and unkind behavior. There’s no reason for any child or teen to open themselves to messages that could harm their emotional health — even if it seems like everyone else is doing it.

The next step is to add a layer of safety for your kids by signing up for Bark. It allows you to connect with more than 30 social media platforms your child may use and will send you a notification when your child downloads a new app. Explore how it works online and start your free trial today.

About Bark

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.

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