Hoop (Rated 12+, Social Networking)
Hoop is a program that can access Snapchat profiles, connecting to Snapchat like an extension. It is currently one of the most popular community apps among younger people. It shares your Snap username with other users and requests their Snap usernames.
This app is similar to other adolescent dating applications because its primary goal is connecting Snap profiles. There is no communication within the app, as all chat is done inside the Snapchat app.
What is all the buzz amongst teens about the Hoop app?
Hoop is an app that makes looking through Snapchat profiles much more accessible. Teens can swipe through profiles and request the username for a profile they are interested in. Hoop users create an account with photos, age, and some biographical information to begin searching.
Meeting the people behind the profile can drive engagement for younger people, whether they intend to make friends or begin dating. Furthermore, Hoop features an app-created currency that is required to open the app after connecting the first ten times. This currency is rewarded to users for completing specific tasks within Hoop.
What Else Should Parents Know About The App?
No Direct Form of Communicating With Others
There is no direct texting capability in the app itself. All chatting between Snap profiles is done in the Snapchat app. Hoop is only for viewing, requesting, or sending Snap profile information.
Inappropriate Content Can Still Be Shared
Profile information of other Snap users can display nudity and suggestive and profane language. Some profiles portray these terms in text through images instead of profile descriptions. The app features the ability to report inappropriate content.
Personal Information and Locations Can Be Shared
Children cannot provide their personal information in the Hoop app. However, any information provided in their Snap profiles will become available to the other Snap users requesting it through Hoop. A location-based feature makes it possible to request/display profiles near your location in the app.
This raises considerable concern regarding potential predators that could collect information about children and teens around them. A stranger can easily manage a child or teenager’s age and any information they share about themselves using the Hoop app.
The Hoop app does not feature parental controls.
Profiles Eliciting Inappropriate Content and Behavior
Some profiles children and teens can swipe through offer inappropriate content like nude photographs or sexting-like engagements in exchange for their username being requested. Profiles can also display nude photos and descriptions, inviting others to engage in these acts.
Whether the intention of the owner of the Snap profile is in line with these offerings or simply looking to earn more of the in-app currency, this content is not suitable for younger audiences.
Demand for In-App Currency
The Hoop app features an app-created currency called “diamonds.” Users can earn diamonds by completing tasks such as requesting profiles, completing surveys, and sharing and inviting friends to join the app. After ten initial connections to the Hoop app, diamonds must continue connecting. A cyclical and compulsive system is created to encourage engagement with children and teens within the app.
With the potential for your child or teen to see explicit content and graphic language on this app, as well as the massive increase in the probability that your child or teen could be sharing their personal information with predatory strangers, I recommend parents NOT ALLOW their child to have this app on their device.
Anyone can make a profile with any information they choose, regardless of age or gender. This app does not have to accurately portray the person your child or teen is engaging with, setting the stage for some potentially hazardous interactions.
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