Houseparty New ‘Go to Video’ chat app for Teens
UPDATE: 4 December 2018
We’ve been contacted recently by some parents regarding the app House Party (formerly Meerkat). The group video-chat app has been used locally by adult males to contact young girls and should be kept on the radar. See former post below. Houseparty offers a great way to stay in touch with family and friends and is relatively secure, provided you take the time to ‘lock’ doors etc with the privacy features, it’s simple to use and most of the time buffer-free due to frequent updates, but there is no age verification and no age limit. With over 20 million users back in 2017, Houseparty app is one to keep an eye on.
The world of video chat apps can be fickle. One minute you are soooo popular.
The next ‘Who are you again?’.
A new video chat app has become a hit with Teens. So much so, that according to Business Insider on Friday, it topped Facebook in the Apple App Store. It’s fallen from there now but is still sitting comfortably in the 20 Top of free apps ahead of WhatsApp and Twitter as of 12/12/2016
Houseparty is the new group video chat app and according to the App’s iTunes description greets you with ‘Welcome to the House, where the Party is always on!’
Image Credit: HouseParty.com
How Houseparty works
One tap and you’re in. When you and your friends are in the app at the same time, you’ll see each other instantly, and Guess What? This app already boasts 1 Million users!. It comes from the creators of once popular app Meerkat which allowed users to live stream to Twitter. Meerkat’s success was short-lived though when Big Gun Twitter purchased Periscope, which basically did the same.
Houseparty App is available for IOS and Android. In order to use the app you first need to create an account and verify your phone number. That’s relatively easy and straightforward. All you need then is an email address, your name, username and password. The app will ask you to enter your mobile number and send you an SMS to verify your number.
Images Credit: HouseParty.com
The idea behind the app is that you can group chat with up to 7 friends at a time – all via video, using the front facing camera on your device. According to the App’s creator Ben Rubin who coined ‘Spontaneous Togetherness’ it’s aim is to create a ‘live, always-on place that you can dip in and out of whenever you want’. He envisions this to be the best part of live streaming, ‘minus the social anxieties that come from calling someone or initiating a FaceTime call’. Like spotting someone you want to talk to – no pressure, or bumping into someone you’d love a chat with. Only on your mobile
Group chats have always been popular with Teens on Facebook and WhatsApp. The Houseparty app seems to fill the spontaneous void and you can video chat with up to 8 of your friends at a time. To get friends using the app its just a simple process of sending SMS text message from the app inviting them to download it and connect with you. Users are then invited to the chat by SMS. If a friend of a friend tries to enter your chat a banner warning tongue in cheek ‘Stranger danger!’ flashes on your screen. Nice touch, using a light approach towards your privacy and one that should work well. You can also lock your chat room door. You can ‘wave’ at other users to send them a push notification inviting them to join you and also tap on the add friends to invite friends to share a link to your Houseparty ID on Twitter or Facebook.
Image Credit: HouseParty.com
So what are the Risks
You can see how this app might just be embraced. It’s s a place to open up, chat about gossip and other activities such as whats happening in School or discuss homework. The app has already started to become popular with students in high schools in the UK and as we’ve seen with other apps which offer group video chat features there are potential safety concerns.
The app seems to be encouraging video chat’s among friends but if one person in the chat happens to be connected to a user and the others are not friends, those connections are still able to join the conversation because of the mutual connection.
Another concern which is important for users of the app to understand is that even if you lock a chat room, users are still able to screenshot without any notification being displayed
Keep safe and please don’t videochat and drive
If you’d like more practical tips on how to protect yourself online and improve your Online Reputation grab a copy of my book..
Posted By Wayne Denner