Smart Social Podcast: Keeping students safe so they can Shine Online
Walkie Talkie App: Who is your Kid Talking to? (SmartSocial.com Guide for Parents & Educators)
The Walkie Talkie app turns phones and tablets into a two-way radio for free. It sounds innocent enough, but as SmartSocial.com Founder Josh Ochs explains there are some stranger dangers and privacy issues parents and educators should be aware of.
What is the Walkie Talkie app?
- The app lets people communicate from any location, in the same style as a walkie talkie or two-way radio
- It only works using cellular data or a Wi-Fi connection
- This is a voice-only app. Images and videos cannot be shared
Learn more by reading our app guide: https://smartsocial.com/walkie-talkie-app/
How does the app work?
- Users can invite friends to chat on a specific channel or they can scroll through random channels by pushing the up or down arrows
- To join a channel, push the stop button until it says “connected”
- The number displayed on the top right shows how many people are tuned in to the channel at that moment
- To talk, a user presses on the speaker area of the screen
- The app must be open in order for the receiving person to hear a message (there are no notifications for Walkie Talkie)
Why do students like it?
- The app is free
- Teens can easily text a channel to friends or share a specific channel number on social media networks
- Students can leave the app on, on a predetermined channel, wherever they go (including school) and communicate with friends without texting or making a phone call
- Individuals or groups can chat on channels
What parents should know?
- Ads pop up while using the app, including advertisements for other apps unless you pay $3.99 to remove them
- Another in-app upgrade, available for $0.99, lets users change the Walkie Talkie color
- There is no way to make a channel private
- This means anyone can listen in on a conversation
- Users can also scroll through channels and try to find strangers to talk to
- There is no way to monitor a child’s conversation or who they are talking to unless you know what channel they are on and constantly listen in
- There is a risk of exposure to foul or lewd language since conversations are not moderated
What can parents do?
- Explain the dangers of talking with strangers and ask your child not to invite strangers to chat with them on a channel
- Remind your student to avoid giving out personal information or oversharing on the Walkie Talkie app
- Since anyone could be eavesdropping on a channel, encourage students to refrain from discussing things they don’t want anyone else to know
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