IRL Social Calendar
Is IRL Social Calendar safe?
A complete app review for parents.
“So fresh and so clean! IRL’s newest upgrade brings you the social calendar you didn’t even know was possible. Forget the strug life of messaging friends, classmates, and coworkers on multiple channels trying to plan a gathering or meeting. Welcome to the good life of easily chatting, and making plans from your calendar invites on the go. Seamlessly integrated so you can message friends however they like to communicate. A calendar app with a built in chat? Genius!”
Company website: https://www.irl.com/
APP Store rating: 12+ (profanity, cartoon/fantasy violence, alcohol, tobacco, or drug use, mature themes)
What do parents need to know about IRL? Does IRL have parental controls?
[BTW – IRL stands for In Real Life. Super important!]
IRL accounts are private by default! During sign-up, users provide either an email or a phone number, first and last name, and are asked to check a box that they are over 13 years old. New IRL accounts are PRIVATE by default (this is awesome because usually the default setting is public!). Users can sync their Google Calendar if they want (most choose to do this).
Having a private account simply means that no one can see your events. But, similar to Instagram, your name still shows up in search results, indicating you have a private account, and then JUST like Instagram, they can “request” to follow your private account (you have to give permission).
IRL wants you to follow famous people and sporting events. Then users are taken to the Explore tab (magnifying glass) and are able to follow ‘influencers,’ which is any kind of public figure/entity that would be holding an event. Think musicians, comedy tours, and sports teams – all available to follow.
If you enable location or search a location, then upcoming events near you from the accounts you’re following are displayed, and users can click the heart and it will be added to their calendar. Users can also see other users that are interested or are attending the event. There is a chat feature, so for these public events, there is the potential to chat with strangers.
Users can also create events. The event can be made Personal (visible only to you), Friends (for people you invite), or Public (anyone near you can view). Then you set a date, time, location, and description. A poll can be created and chat is available for those that are invited to the event.
IRL is social media! Just through your calendar. IRL provides users with many attributes of social media, including:
- IRL has In-app chat – this is a strong purpose of IRL – chatting with friends to meet up at events.
- IRL encourages location sharing – so that you can see local events, drop them into your calendar, and share them with others.
- In IRL, you have Followers and follow others – just like Instagram. In fact, the app looks a lot like Instagram, which is maybe why teens seem comfortable using it.
It’s simply that instead of a Facebook post telling people that you’re going to a movie, you post an event on your IRL calendar, “Going to a movie,” share it, and maybe a few of your friends will join you!
Does IRL have any parental controls? No, it does not. There’s nothing that can be locked in by parents. IRL does have a few control features that are worth mentioning and for parents with kids using the app, you’ll want to make sure you show kids how to use these features:
- Private accounts – this means my calendar isn’t visible to others and they have to request to follow me, just like Instagram. Strangely, you can share a link to private accounts via Facebook Messenger, email, text, etc. In other words, I could tell all of my friend, “Hey! Check out this link to this private account I found!”
- Block users – just click the 3 dots in the upper right of any user and you can block them.
- “In Crisis? Chat now” – in the account Settings, you can tap this feature and you’re instantly connected to text messaging, where you can send an urgent message. We tried it and received an instant auto-response with crisis management help and an offer to continue the text conversation. It seems like a legit feature!
Does IRL allow in-app browsing? Yes. Which makes it important on an iPhone to have “limit adult content” selected in Content Restrictions so that a “hidden” Google search inside of IRL would have SafeSearch locked in. For Android, you will be kicked out to the Chrome app, where if you have Family Link working, you would have a Google SafeSearch, which is of course, preferred.
Related post: iOS 13 Parental Controls
The bottom line – is IRL Social Calendar safe for your kids?
Big bonus points that profiles are private by default. But the app has a strong pull to connect with people at big events. It also wants you to chat with those people. Having a private account simply means it’s more difficult for others to link to you, but any user with a private account can reach out to whoever they want.
Human trafficking is a real risk. If teens use this app, talk to them about this growing issue. Especially at large events.Link to Human Trafficking Hotline Website + Articles
In the end, IRL is similar to Instagram, but instead of pictures, you show everyone your events. We wouldn’t allow a kid to have access to this app who doesn’t have their driver’s license.
If you want tips for talking about strangers with your younger kids, don’t miss our popular post: Tricky People – Stranger Danger in the Digital Age