What is the Wink app?
There’s a flurry of apps being released that are trying to solve Snapchat’s lack of an account search feature. First, we wrote about HOOP. Now, here comes WINK.
Wink connects with Snapchat, shows you Snap profiles of other users, and allows you connect with them or swipe away to the next Snap profile. A similar user experience as Tinder.
Once they’ve exchanged Snap info inside of Wink, the rest of the conversation happens in Snapchat. There’s no chat in Wink, and location information isn’t included — though some users put it on their profile image or bio. Teens earn points for logging in daily, sharing their Snap, verifying their account with a phone number, following Wink on Instagram, getting Snap friends to join Wink, and more.
APP Store rating:
What do parents need to know about Wink?
Here’s a list of items we try to evaluate with each app we review.
Does Wink have easily accessible inappropriate content?
While the majority of the profiles are appropriate, some contain content with drugs, alcohol, and provocative profile images.
Does Wink have default public settings?
Yes. Currently, there’s no private account option. The only solace is that you have to accept followers, unlike HOOP, which allows anyone to add anyone.
In order to use the Wink app, users must include age, gender, a photo, and country. Your profile name, age, and country are displayed.
Does Wink share your location?
No, but some users share it in their bio. And although location isn’t shared with others outright, the search preferences can try to show you Snap profiles of people close to you, if you’ve allowed the app to use your location while using the app. Not good at all from a predatory perspective.
Does Wink have “ephemeral” or disappearing content?
No. It doesn’t have any of its own content. The app just shows users Snapchat profiles.
Does Wink have direct messaging?
Does Wink have ads and in-app purchases?
Teens earn points for logging in daily, sharing their Snap, verifying their account with a phone number, following Wink on Instagram, getting Snap friends to join Wink, and more. And, since you can’t connect with people to learn their Snap username without “paying” with points, there’s a steady, addictive tug to keep performing certain in-app activities in order to earn more points.
Does Wink make it easy to report bad content?
Yes, see the screenshot above.
Does Wink verify users when creating accounts?
Somewhat. If you have a Snapchat account, you can create a Wink account. Creating a Snapchat account is easy, therefore, account verification is weak and really anyone can join, which means even if an account is reported, it’s easy for offenders to jump back in quickly.
Do Wink’s features facilitate bullying?
No. The app has one purpose – connect Snapchat users with each other. There’s only one communication that happens in Wink – “will you give me your Snap username?” and that’s it.
Do Wink’s features facilitate predatory activity?
Yes. What could possibly go wrong with an app that makes it easy for teens to share personal information with strangers? Our test account quickly received requests to share our Snap username. And teens are rewarded with points for sharing their Snap with a stranger.
Even when the app knows your age, it can pair you up with older people. When we set our age to 13, within minutes we had a 20-year-old requesting to add us on Snap.
A predator can set their search preferences to show profiles within any age group. For example, a 25- year-old could set their age as 14 and set their search preference so they are shown profiles of 14-year-old girls first. They can also set their preferences to search for profiles in a close proximity to their location.
How does Wink guard privacy?
Wink guards privacy like any other social media platform, sharing account details with third parties (like Snapchat), but also collecting location data through your IP address, device, browser details, and use of “cookies.” Anyone using other social networks is already sharing more.
The bottom line – is Wink safe for your kids?
This app is for 17+. No question. Please keep your kids off of this app!
- Talk to your kids about your expectations about what types of apps are allowable.
- If you want to allow kids to pick apps but with permission – Set up Family Sharing (iPhone) or Family Link (Android).
- If you want to prevent access to app stores altogether – Turn off the App Store in Screen Time (iPhone) or use an App Lock (Android).
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Because the app is brand new, no one monitors it yet. But, Bark can send an alert when new apps are downloaded. Plus, they cover plenty of other apps that kids love, including texts, chat, email, YouTube, and 24+ social media platforms for signs of cyberbullying, suicidal ideation, adult content, and more.
Parents and guardians don’t have to read every message — instead, they’ll get alerts only when there’s a potential issue. Sign up today for a free, one-week trial!
*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!