There have been concerns raised about an app called Monkey and some schools are reporting that it’s having issues with pupils who use it. As a result here is some detailed information about the app and concerns and potential risks.
What is it? -
The Monkey app is a video chat app targeted towards teenagers and is available to download within the Apple and Google Play app stores. The app allows users to video chat to random people (strangers) for 15 secs and if both parties are enjoying the chat they can extend the time they chat together. Before connecting, users will see the age and gender of the potential friend, and they can accept the video chat or not. Sign up is easy and all you need is a date of birth, but there's no verification of age to prove if this is accurate (Please note Social Media in General doesn’t use age verification tools). When signing up the Monkey app fully links with users Snapchat profiles and you can choose to send out invites to your Snapchat friends to join Monkey.
Worries and Concerns-
App is designed for you to talk to strangers from around the world and as we all know this has the potential for users to chat to others who pose a risk to children and young people.
While the app is targeted towards teenagers the reported average age of users is 23 years of age.
There are a lot of reports of users being in a state of undress or fully naked while chatting.
There are also reports of sexual explicit chat and users receiving requests for nude pics and video.
Chat can often be abusive and nasty with reports of bullying going on.
Monkey is another example of Video Chat apps that encourage users to talk to strangers. Similar apps like Omegle and ooVoo are becoming increasingly popular with children and young people and we have seen a rise in these type of apps being developed and many existing apps are adding this random chat feature to their platforms.
Awareness of these type of apps and how they are used need to be shared with professionals and parents/carers as in our view they are not suitable for the children and young people which is often the target audience due to risks already mentioned. Children and young people also need to be made aware of the potential risks from using these type of apps.