imo messenger – it’s all been done before. It’s video chat. It’s a messenger. It’s (creepy) live video from people’s homes. None of this is new. But people so eagerly download the next thing so although it seems to be primarily used overseas (middle east), teens everywhere will notice that it’s #1 in the Apple App Store (as of September 28, 2018) and might want it for themselves.
Description:Encrypted, high-quality video and voice calls, encrypted group video with up to six participants. FREE and unlimited encrypted messages and video and voice calls over data or WiFi connections. In other words, avoid SMS (texting) and phone call charges. Oh, and there’s stickers for our conversations! imo messenger can also be used on Mac and PC laptops, in addition to iOS and Android smart devices.
Company website: there really isn’t one, which is strange. There’s the download page above. The imo app is owned by a privately-help company called Baby Penguin, LLC, but Google can’t track them down. Here’s the download page instead, because imo isn’t just for mobile devices – there’s a PC version, too.
Category: Social Networking
APP Store rating: 4+ (the App Store’s lowest rating). Since the app is categorized as “social media,” it doesn’t make any sense that Apple would blatantly encourage use by kids less than the COPPA standard.
What Parents Need to Know About imo messenger:
Encryption makes it attractive. We are a privacy-sensitive bunch right now. The fact that imo encrypts everything is settling for some.
It does have a paid version. For just $0.99/month, users can eliminate ads, get cloud storage space, “and more coming soon” (their words).
Live video. Enough said.
Seems to be mostly used in international circles right now. This is an unscientific conclusion judging from the types and quantities of non-Americans in the live video feeds speaking Arabic or Spanish is some cases.
It looks difficult for strangers to drop in. This has been the critique (stronger in the past) with apps like House Party, which allows too many random people to join group chats.
imo messenger App Bottom Line for Parents:
Eeeehhh. There’s not much to get excited about. None of it is new. There are a few risky spots, but kids can get into much more trouble in many other digital places. The app store says 4+ but for anything that allows live streaming, we can’t condone anything younger than 8th grade, which would be at least 13. After all, it is social media – 13 is the minimum anyway!
I believe this particular app will likely have a short life-span. It feels too redundant.