What is GAS?
PYE has received multiple questions from parents about GAS. According to the App Store listing, “Gas is where friends tell you what they love about you. And no, they won’t dunk on you like other anonymous apps.”
App Category: Trivia (you create and answer polls about classmates)
Apple APP Store rating (not available for Android): 12+ – Apple’s App Store
How does GAS work?
- Join your school (it uses location services to show you schools close-by).
- Add friends (it really pushes to gain access to your contacts).
- Answer polls (positive and uplifting).
- Get flames when picked (blue = boy, pink = girl, purple = non-binary).
MORE: It’s only available in limited states (first released in Michigan in August 2022). It was in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana as of the time of this review, with more added weekly.
Create polls about your friends who attend the same school (each user selects their school during account set-up). Get selected and receive FLAMES, which are referred to “gassing up your friends.” Flames can be perceived as “fun” or maybe that someone likes you. It feels like a digital version of a lot of things we did with paper in the 1990’s.
Does GAS have any privacy risks?
- We won’t share, sell your data.
- We will never track you across online services.
- We only request your approximate location once at signup to suggest nearby schools.
- We do not store location data on our servers.
- We do not link location data to your account.
But, it’s pretty aggressive on having users add contacts and get their friends involved. Here’s a comment from a concerned parent:
My issue lies in the fact that the app forces kids to give their age, gender and school and makes it seem like they have to add their contacts to move forward with using the app. I also have a huge problem with the fact that kids names can be added without their consent. It looks like a Privacy Act violation, my child did not give anyone permission to add their name to the app or its polls.
Is GAS dangerous?
- We only let friends, contacts, and classmates vote on each other. Never strangers.
- NO direct messages, even if you are friends.
- All polls are uplifting so you can never be bullied.
- We review reports daily and remove rule-breakers.
- We provide live chat and email support to all users.
When PYE used the app, our experience was consistent with the items above, but kids will feel left out and those who never asked to be included in polls won’t like that they’re on lists.
Here’s an email we received from a parent:
Something else to consider for the gas app…It can be disturbing to receive notifications that someone of the same sex thinks you’re hot or wants to spend a lifetime with you on a deserted island.
You can be messed with when the same sex chooses you for romantic questions as a way to harass you.
My son received votes for being hot by boys. Then boys started texting him asking him if he was gay. This app is not as innocent as it seems.
It’s not that GAS is dangerous. But psychologically, it is hurting some kids and causing discomfort and embarrassment.
Consider this comment from a parent:
“The polls are not obviously cruel or mean, however anytime you have a poll you have a clear winner and loser. I honestly feel bad for the kids who are dealing with this, especially since it is being advertised as a positive thing. Any time a child can gain access (God mode) to distinguishing information of kids who “vote” for or against them it is psychologically damaging. Whether the votes are positive and it leads to the need for outside recognition to feel self worth or negative leading to self-esteem issues the end result is not positive. It’s like some sick adult created a digital slam book for all U.S. high schoolers so he could watch the chaos happen. It makes me sad my kid has to deal with it. Thank you for reading my concerns, I really wish there was something I could do but I don’t even know where to start.”
The bottom line: is GAS safe?
- Keep it out of middle school (grades 6-8). No apps or smartphones during this fabulous but FRAGILE developmental time.
- Kids might want to purchase GOD MODE for $9.99 if they want to see who voted for them. If concerned, turn off iPhone in-app purchases (there’s no Android version).
- I’m also not pleased with the label “God Mode” for the upgrade.
- Kids might also feel left out from a self-esteem perspective, if they aren’t being chosen. OR, they might not like what polls they’re included in. This can cause mental stress in some kids.
Bottom line – probably better than most social media, but not squeaky clean.
2 amazing ways to keep tabs on an app like GAS:
*There might be affiliate links throughout this post because we’ve tested and trust a small list of parental control solutions. Our work saves you time! If you decide that you agree with us, then we may earn a small commission, which does nothing to your price. Enjoy!