What parents need to know about this popular messaging app.

GroupMe (Rated 4+, Chat, Social Networking)

GroupMe is a messaging app that lets users send messages to others without message limits or fees. It uses Internet data through WiFi or your phone’s data plan.

Why is this app so popular with teens?

It works on every device.
GroupMe has apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone; you can chat with your friends from your phone on the go or from your computer. Your friends also don’t need to all have the same type of phone or operating system to interact with each other. 
Sharing is easy
You can easily share images, videos, GPS location, GIFs, Memes, and custom emojis from anywhere. App developers are beginning to realize that teens don’t like hopping around to different apps to share with their friends. This is one of the significant reasons Snapchat is still so popular. 
Segmented Chat Groups
Having the ability to have different chat groups for teens is a big deal. They might have more than one friend group they are keeping in touch with, club groups, or even various sports teams/clubs they must communicate with regularly. This app would make that process much more manageable.

Parental Controls

There aren’t traditional parental controls on GroupMe, but some settings will enhance safety. Block A User Although GroupMe contacts cannot be deleted, you can block people from contacting your child or adding them to group chats. This will prevent them from sending photos and videos to your child. From the Main Menu, select Contacts. Choose the contact you want to be blocked → Tap on Block → Click Yes (or Block) in the confirmation window. Activate Request To Join Feature To monitor your kid’s groups closely, activate the Request to Join Feature. This will add an extra layer to filtering the people your child connects with. For someone to join their group, whether via a link, QR code, or Campus Connect, they will need the group administrator’s approval. Go to the group → Tap the Group Avatar →Select Settings → Slide on the Request to Join. You can also enable the Ask Join Question (then set a Custom Join/Membership Question). Leave a Group If group members continue to send inappropriate photos or text messages, leave the group or end it if you’re the creator. Select the group → Tap the Chat Avatar → Select Settings → Scroll down and choose Leave Group or End Group.


In-app purchasing. You can buy Emoji packs within the app.  Adult/Inappropriate content. Some emojis feature adult themes, such as cartoon liquor bottles and sexy characters. Searches for GIFs find scantily clad people, drug use, and violent images can be found. You can also view the URL source of the GIF, image, or video via Bing without ever leaving the app, even if you have Safari turned off. Privacy. The app asks to connect to all of your contacts. We do not advise people to share all of their contacts with an app. Many apps only exist to mine your contacts and sell or use them elsewhere for marketing. We do not know if GroupMe or Microsoft will do that, but once you choose to share your contacts, you can’t get them back.


Safe for children 16+ with parent supervision.

  1. If you are not okay with unfiltered access to potentially inappropriate content, you should not allow your child to have this app.
  2. If you are okay with the issues outlined above, this app is only for High School-aged children.
Our recommendation for parents is to let their children use SMS text messaging – the messaging app with your phone. Third-party apps come with problems, and GroupMe is no different.

Additional Recommendations

Password Protected App Store

A password-protected App Store will stop your child from downloading GroupMe or other apps onto their devices without your permission and knowledge.  

Talk to Your Child and Filter Your Internet

Talk to your child about why you are concerned about online adult content. Talking to your child about porn may sound overwhelming. We have an article that will help guide you through that conversation. You can filter the internet coming into your home with CleanBrowsing (free), your internet provider’s parental controls (paid service), or your router (free and paid).

Turn on Parental Controls

Turning parental controls on your child’s devices would be best. Our book, Parenting in the Digital World, will walk you through this process.

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About the Author

Clayton Cranford
Clayton Cranford is a retired Sergeant from Orange County Sheriff's Department in California and owner of Total Safety Solutions LLC. Clayton is one of the nation’s leading law enforcement educators on social media, child safety, and behavioral threat assessments. Clayton is the author of the definitive book on cyber safety for families, “Parenting in the Digital World.” Clayton has more than 20 years of teaching experience and was awarded the 2015 National Bullying Prevention Award from the School Safety Advocacy Council, and the 2015 American Legion Medal of Merit. Clayton was a member of the County's Behavioral Threat Assessment Team, Crisis Negotiation Team, School Resource Officer program, and Juvenile Bureau.