Over the last month, the new social media app, FriendO has skyrocketed to the top of the App Store charts and currently holds the #5 most downloaded social media app. FriendO is also a particularly popular among middle school-aged kids which make up 84% of its current users.
There are a few things parents should know about this app, and as with all social media apps, best practices for parents of middle schoolers is to monitor what they are downloading so that you can do your own due diligence.
The app says the following;
“Sure, you’re a “friend”, but are you a true FriendO?
FriendO is the new social app that allows you to answer fun questions about yourself, send them to your friends, and see how well they know you! See if Johnny really knows what you like to eat, or if Becca really knows your favorite sports team. Then, once they’ve shown their friendship, you get to show yours!
Only real friends will move up each others’ FriendO ranking board! The more questions you answer correctly about each other, the better FriendOs you become! Make sure you’re on top of your friends’ boards, and vice-versa. FriendO has thousands of fun questions in all categories.
Get started making FriendOs today!”
The app has a number of categories that friends can quiz each other on, such as their favorite foods and musicians. Seems innocent enough right? Not all questions are innocent though. In the section on the app called “dirty”, parents will find many questions not suitable for their 13-year-old child, which is the minimum age required to use FriendO. Questions like, “In bed I am (aggressive/passive), and, “If forced to, I’d rather watch a gross porno starring my 7th-grade math teacher.”
Another category called “MSFK” (which stands for “marry, sex, friend, kill”) quizzes users on what they would rather do with a given star, or celebrity; marry, friend, kill or have sex with.
One problem with the app is that it doesn’t restrict younger users from accessing inappropriate or adult material and the other is that it creates another platform for cyberbullying.
Smarter parents everywhere are using Social Judo to calm their anxieties about their child’s smartphone and social media use. Real-time alerts sent directly to a parent’s phone about the things that are of concern today are proving invaluable. It is impossible to parent your child in cyberspace if you don’t know what they are googling, messaging and downloading.
As a therapist who works with tweens, teens, and parents, I see the destruction the unparented world of cyberspace causes every single day, and I urge every caring parent to step up and to be smarter.
Andrea Difilippo is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, nationally recognized parenting expert and Chief Parenting Officer with Social Judo.