Many parents know how much their kids can be obsessed with popular social network sites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. However, there are many other social services that parents may be less aware of. One of those is MeetMe app that gains greater popularity among the younger generation nowadays.
So, what is MeetMe app? Unlike other social networks that let users stay in touch and socialize with their friends, MeetMe is focused on introducing new people to each other. One can create a profile with the help of his email or a Facebook account. Then, it becomes possible to view other members’ photos, basic information and use MeetMe messenger. Besides, MeetMe helps to bring together members who are located nearby.
There are over 100 million MeetMe users, and over 1 million of those are active on the app daily.
In 2012, MeetMe appeared on the list of the 25 most trafficked websites.
MeetMe is widely known as a dating app. It has onboard games that aim to introduce members to the potential match nearby (for example, “Blind Date”). According to Huffington Post, MeetMe is one of top 6 dating apps popular among teenagers. But is MeetMe safe for an adolescent? The app seems to be interesting and interactive for the youth, and yet it may conceal certain threats.
Considering that profile information of MeetMe users is not verified, predators and fraudsters can easily pretend to be teens and entice children to meet in real life. The fact that the MeetMe app is designed to match users based on their location makes it even more dangerous. In recent years, there have been several cases in the US when talking to predators on MeetMe resulted into sex crimes against teens.
Another threat comes from “Ask Me” feature. It enables users to ask each other anonymous questions that can’t be monitored or censored. As a result, such messages may appear to be explicit or offensive.
The ability to write private messages and exchange photos may be no less dangerous as far as teens may be addressed to by predators and cyberbullies. The reasons for bullying your teen may be his/her interests, comments or appearance. Receiving offensive or humiliating MeetMe messages may result in constant stress or even depression in your child.
When signing in, members have to mind that unless the privacy settings are changed manually, the app will automatically show all photos and information as public to all users located in the same area.
At All Costs
MeetMe has a “currency” called Credits which can be used to unlock special features such as customized search or “boosting” one’s profile so that more members can see it. Credits can be either purchased directly through the app or earned by simple actions like logging in every day or talking more to other users.
As far as not all teens can afford to buy such virtual “currency,” they will definitely log in on MeetMe more often and spend there more time. It can result in smartphone addiction, problems with school grades, giving up on other hobbies or spending less time with their families and friends in real life.
Summing it up, we can say that besides harmless socializing, using MeetMe app can also result in dangerous consequences. Even though it may be not easy to monitor a teen’s online life, parents should still try their best, gain their kid’s trust to be able to easily talk and discuss who the child is staying in touch with via the web and mobile apps. The most important is to make your adolescent understand that social networks may bring not only fun but also certain threats and he/she should not try to meet strangers from the Internet in real life.