Houseparty is a video chat platform that allows group video chatting through mobile and destp[ applications. It was primarily designed teens that are ready for social media but not old enough. It was launched by Life on Air Inc in 2016. Unfortunately, there are people that may use it for nefarious purposes. Users spend an average of 51 min a day in one-on-one calls. It allows invite-only chats between users in video or text chats, but it also creates some family privacy concerns.
Let’s talk about some of these concerns. Of course, with any app, you have advertising. Houseparty is no exception. With 20 million users, 60% of them are from the age of 16-24, it is very popular with those under the age of 18. While you can sign up for an account as young as 13, the app does not do much to prevent younger children from faking their age to do so. Additionally, strangers can enter the room you are in and you will receive a warning about “Stranger Danger”. At the same time though, it suggests those people may be a reason to party.
Now that you see the potential dangers of the app, here are some of the steps you can take to make sure that you or your kids use the app as safely as possible.
- Near Me – this feature allows users who are in close proximity to be added. You will want to make sure this option is off.
- “Lock” Room – This feature allows you to lock your room so the only people that can get in are by direct invite.
- Don’t join open rooms – Since all rooms are effectively “open” joining a room will put the user at risk for “Stranger Danger”
- Opt out of personal data usage – While the company will still collect the data, opting out limits what they can do with it.
- Download the app – Have your teen add you to it so you will have a better understanding. Make sure your teen does not block their “In the House” notifications from you.
Just like with other forms of social media, Houseparty collects all sorts of personal information. You are required to give your email address when you first sign up as well as your date of birth and phone number (allegedly to verify you are a real person). If you are going to add friends (since that is what the app is all about), you need to give it permission also to access your contacts list and possibly your Facebook friends list. You could potentially be giving your friends’ information to the app developer including information that is available through their social media account.
As we mentioned, the company requires that its members be at least 13 years old. That is the age (by law) that the app can legally track you. Since it is a free service, it can sell information to 3rd parties for a profit. Other things the app can do are collect IP addresses, MAC addresses, cookies, mobile carrier information, geo-location, and more.
Above, you have some of the best steps you can take to help protect your family privacy while on the Houseparty app. Please share this post with your friends so they can help their families use this app safely. Follow us @VPNFan for the latest VPN deals and privacy guides.