Is the Likee (formerly LIKE) App Safe for Kids?
A complete app review for parents
What is the Likee App?
App Store description: Likee (formerly LIKE) is a popular global original video creation and sharing platform.
A World Leading Special Effects Short Video Editing Tool
With thousands of stickers and Music Magic filters to help make ideas come to life. On Likee, everyone can create trending videos with a simple tap and become the video star of their social circles! You can even use the Superme feature to make a blockbuster video in seconds or make an exclusive music video in less than a minute! (from Apple App Store)
Category: Photo & Video
APP Store rating: 17+ (Unrestricted Web Access, Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence, Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References, Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes)
What do parents need to know about the Likee App?
The Likee App is really just social media. This is classified as a Photo & Video app, but as soon as you sign up, a list of people to follow is populated for you. So we were immediately able to start following 10 people without even browsing the app. They didn’t need to approve us either.
By default, you can like and comment on anyone’s video (even if you don’t follow them). There are some minimal privacy settings explained below. You can also private message anyone. You can share anyone’s profile or videos to other platforms (like Facebook or a text message). There also seems to be pressure to allow the app to access your contacts so you can get more friends.
Likee has a huge focus on popularity (and in-app purchases). When you open the app, post videos, watch videos, get followers, send/receive gifts, then you get experience points, which causes you to “level up.”
At certain levels you receive different stickers and filters for your videos (we only made it up to level 2 so we didn’t receive any of these things). After you get to level 35, then you can go Live (their recommended Live video length is 30 minutes).
Therefore, the Likee App plays off of the concept of LOOT BOXES, similar to Candy Crush or other wildly popular online games.
On top of this, you can buy Diamonds (39 for US$0.99 up to 420 for US$99.99) and then gift them to other users if you like their videos. You receive them as beans and then you can cash it out for actual money (though if your payout is over $1000, then it will take 25-30 days to process). The exchange rate is US$1 = 210 beans. One user had 1.19 million beans (the equivalent of ~US$5,666).
Tricky people and child grooming are prevalent. We have been made aware of numerous stories of TRICKY PEOPLE and child groomers on the app. Because of the ability to look at any profile (there is no way to make an account private but there some privacy measures explained below) and message anyone, kids can fall prey to these types of people reaching out to them.
This type of online environment is also a perfect storm for child predators to have access to a large number of underage content. From briefly going through the “Popular” videos and the “Nearby” videos, there is a huge portion of videos made by young girls.
Hashtags are searchable in Likee. We did some searches using some typical offenders like “twerk,” “nudes,” and others within Likee and there were plenty of results.
You can link with other social platforms from Likee. Here’s a list to everything that you can link. By doing this, you are giving Likee permission to get all of your personal information and your friend/contact list from these platforms.
The app’s creator says users must not be a minor. They actually make a distinction of what age is appropriate depending on your country (15 for the United States, 16 for the European Union, and 12 for Russia…other countries are not listed).
When we first tried to sign up for an account, we tried using an age of 12 and the app stated that this was not old enough and we needed to confirm our birthday. It was very easy to fake an older birthday. Although the app isn’t classified as social media, it still must comply with COPPA and underage data collection.
Are there hidden browser doorways in the Likee App? If you go to user settings and click the “Follow Us,” then Instagram is launched within the app. You can search for anything within Instagram and links are launched (again all within the Likee app), but there is no address bar to search or navigate to other web pages.
There are minimal account privacy controls. FYI, there is no way to make your account private. Anyone can view your videos, but you can turn off if people can share or comment on them. Click on your profile picture –> Settings –> Privacy –> choose the options that you want disabled. If you click “Who Can Message Me,” then you can choose Everyone, Friends, or Disable.
Bottom line – is the LIKEE app safe for your kid?
Go with the app rating of 17+ on this one. There are way too many risks for this to be a good digital environment for teens.
Read more about our thoughts about a child’s foray into social media: “What’s the Right Age to Give my Kid Social Media?”
Now What? Have you Heard of Bark?
Are you interested in having greater insight into the social media platforms that your kids are using? Bark is one of the best platforms we’ve tested. They’re constantly looking for ways to dig further into apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and others, to keep parents informed about the information that matters. We trust them and we think you should, too!
*There are 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!