Video chat and messaging apps can be a great way for kids to keep in contact with family and friends, but how can you be sure they’re safe online? Oovoo is a popular app enjoyed mainly by younger people that has a lot of benefits, but it also requires parents to keep a watchful eye on how their kids are using it.

Online messaging is nothing new when it comes to teenagers and the internet, but new programs and apps are popping up all the time. Oovoo is a popular instant messaging and video chat app that is popular with teens, and if your child has expressed an interest in using it or they already are, you need to get educated.

Keeping our kids safe online is a matter of staying vigilant, trusting their judgment, and educating ourselves on how these programs work. Oovoo is relatively easy to use and has adjustable settings that will keep your teens as safe as possible, and this extensive guide can show you exactly how.

So, What Exactly Is Oovoo?

Oovoo is a free internet messaging and video chat program. The app works on smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, and MAC’s. The main appeal of this messenger app compared to others is that you’re able to speak to up to 12 different people at a time in a video chat which is rare to find in these types of applications.

The age requirement to use Oovoo is 13 years old and teenagers must be at least this age to join. They can join with either a Facebook account or their personal email address, and this will be connected to their chat account. Users must enter their date of birth and a username to sign up, and then they will be given a unique ID.

Their contact list will be added either with an automatic import function from their Facebook or individually selected, and during these setup stages, it’s best to work with your child to complete it. Oovoo usually stays logged in and running as a background application on your phone or computer, with notifications being received when somebody calls or sends a message. Otherwise, you can choose to exit out of it once you’re done and will not receive any notifications until you sign in again. 

What Kids Are Doing on Oovoo

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To understand more about the Oovoo app, it’s good to know exactly what kids are getting up to on there. Oovoo is a multifunctional app so it’s used for more than just sending instant messages. There are a few main features of Oovoo, so your child may be:

Sending photos

Take and upload photos to share with friends or send out to a larger group of recipients.

Video chatting

Oovoo allows people to have video chats with their friends, and you can speak to up to 12 people at a time with this function.

Instant messaging

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Typing messages to their contacts in private chats or in a group setting is possible with the Oovoo app.

Voice calling

Voice calling

Oovoo allows people to have video chats with their friends, and you can speak to up to 12 people at a time with this function.

Sending videos

Like some other video chat apps, Oovoo allows your child to record a short 15-second video that can be viewed by their friends.

Changing the Settings For Your Child’s Profile

When your child is first setting up their profile on Oovoo, you should be present and supervise the process. There are quite a few different settings to go through with the most important relating to their privacy and security, so it’s important to understand what’s going on.

Upon registering their account, your child’s profile will default to a public one automatically. This means that anyone can search for and find them. You can change these settings so that they can only be seen by people who know their email address or ID, or you can make it so that nobody can see them at all.

Make sure that your child doesn’t use their full name as a username and doesn’t show a picture of their face in their profile either. There is a status message bar that can be customized, and again it’s important that they don’t give away any personal information about themselves here.

Oovoo gives you the option to turn off location tagging as well, which can show people exactly where the videos and pictures you have were taken at. It’s important to explain to your kids about why this can be a dangerous function, and ensure that it’s turned off.

The Dangers of Oovoo

Just as with anything available online, there are plenty of dangers lurking around that parents and children are sometimes ignorant to. The biggest issue with younger people using apps like these is that they can be reached and targeted by strangers, which can sometimes be older users pretending to be a teen just like them. This is why it’s important to have the privacy settings up to date.

Talk to your child about only allowing their real-life friends to contact them on the app and to never accept a request from someone they don’t know, no matter how genuine it might seem. Speak honestly with them about the potential dangers of predators who use these apps to target younger teens and children.

Another thing that children might not understand is the permanency of what we post online. Even though Oovoo is an instant chat service and you can send short videos that will “disappear”, it’s still possible for people to record or screenshot them. Any photos they send or text that they write can and will be stored, so make sure they are aware of it.

Oovoo gives users the chance to record video chats as they are happening and there’s no need to get permission from the other user to do so. Remind them of this and have them understand the dangers of doing things online that you wouldn’t normally do in person. The internet is not the hidden place that some younger people believe it to be.

What Your Kid Can Do to Stay Safe

There’s only so much we can do as parents to keep an eye on what our kids do online. The rest of it lays on them and their judgment to make the right decisions. Here are some things you can remind your child of when using Oovoo o any other online program like it.

  • Keep your identity safe

Oovoo has the potential to reveal quite a bit of personal information just from a profile if you let it, so teach your kids how to keep this safe. Their profile picture shouldn’t show their face, their username shouldn’t include a surname, and they should never tag the location of their pictures.

  • Only speak to real life friends

Keep the settings of your teen’s profile to private and teach them to never speak to anyone unless it’s a friend that they have met in real life. Predators are expert at pretending to be teenagers and know just how to speak to them without being noticed.

  • Never share anything you wouldn’t want going public

Remind your kid that anything they write, record or send could easily go public, even if they think it’s in a private chat setting. If they wouldn’t be happy with their parents seeing it, it’s safe to say they shouldn’t be doing it.

  • Tell us if you see prohibited content

Sometimes users will post videos or images that are inappropriate or pornographic in nature. If your child sees anything like this they should tell you straight away so that you can report the user immediately.

Controlling What Your Child Sees

Depending on what privacy settings your child has on their account, they may have more contact with strangers than others. If anyone is able to find their profile it’s likely they will get more requests to connect and chat, especially by unknown people.

The only want to keep people from directly contacting your teen and requesting their friendship is to have their settings changed to private. However, if people do manage to contact them while they’re using the other settings, they can block the user permanently so that they won’t ever be able to contact them again.

What To Do If Your Child Is Using Oovoo

These days, it can be incredibly hard to keep track of what your child is doing on their phone or computer, but it’s something that’s the responsibility of the parents. If you know that your child is already using Ooovo or plans to, there are some things you can do to ensure they’re safe.

  • Learn the app

Download the Oovoo app for yourself so you can learn how it works and understand the settings. This will keep you on top of things and teach you exactly what to look for.

  • Check their history

Oovoo allows you to look at the chat history of what your child has been saying and who they’ve been speaking to. Without being excessive, make a point of checking it every now and then.

  • Keep an eye on their contacts

Learn who your child’s contacts are and ask any questions if you aren’t sure of who they are. Ensure that your child knows them in real life and they are in fact who they say they are.

  • Minimize their use

Set limits with your child about how often they can use the app and have scheduled times where it’s permitted. Take their devices off them before bed so that you know they aren’t using it without your supervision.

A Safe and Fun App When Done Right

Oovoo can be a wonderful social app for your teen but it requires some moderation and understanding by us as parents. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the app and teaching your child about the dangers that can be lurking online. Education is the best thing for teens and parents when it comes to the digital world, so be sure that you stay on top of it.

There’s no way to stop your teen from using apps like this completely so the next best thing we can do is educate them. Show them the real-life stories that happen when predators target people online and make sure they understand the basic privacy settings on Oovoo.

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