Teens always compare themselves to their friends or peers, and certain smashing apps showcase such comparisons in plain sight. Hot or Not has gained tremendous popularity among children and teens over the last decade. Just as its name declares, this is a dangerous and shallow app for kids and provides a toxic environment for every age group of children.
What is Hot or Not?
Released in 2000, this is a popular app that allows users to rate other people on whether they are attractive physically or not. Once a user activates his/her account, they must upload a picture of themselves that other members will have to rate. The initial versions of the app let users to numerically rate and judge from 1-10 the attractiveness of a person, however, this changed over recent years. Now, a user can scroll through another users pictures and tap on the “x” in order to give them a rating of Not or tap on the heart symbol to rate them as Hot. If two users are attracted to each other the app automatically lets them message themselves privately.
There is as well a location-based feature which permits users to only rate and sees other account profiles of people who are geographically close by. The app allows users to browse for other people closeby using filters like body type, education, and relationship status.
What you will See on Hot or Not
Hot or Not is designed similarly to Tinder, one of the largest hook-up apps. There is no doubt that teens come on Hot or Not to find people and start a sexual or romantic relationship. As soon as two users possess mutual attraction and are permitted to converse through the private chat, the content of the conversion can turn inappropriate very quickly. Because the assumption is that all users who are a part of the app are on it to get hooked up. This is certainly not a cyber safe feature that this app presents to your teens.
Hot or Not User Base
This app has more than 300 million users. However, users have to be 13 years of age and older in order to be eligible for registration. This isn’t a strong enough limitation though as there is absolutely no way Hot or Not can verify this, this allows profiles of users of all ages to be created. Users within the age bracket of 13-17 are separated from the adult members on the app. Once an account owner turns 18, he/she can keep on making conversations with existing connections in the age range of 13-17 but is restricted from creating new connections in that age group.
The Dangers for Teens and Children on Hot or Not
Even though Hot or Not has made claims that underage users are separated from adults, they have no method of actually verifying the said ages of users. So it’s certainly impossible to guarantee that children won’t come access adults on the app. Predators can easily make a fraud profile and sign up as a minor to acquire the privilege to get access to the age group of “protected” teen account holders. Due to this loop teens can fall victim easily to pedophiles and predators faking to be teenagers. Once they are connected to one another, it’s very easy for your child to be open to explicit content via the apps feature for private messaging.
However, adult predators aren’t just the only problems that parents will have to be concerned about. Teens as well can be matched easily on this app and start very inappropriate conversations or picture exchanges. A 2014 study, after all, showed that 54% of teenagers have received and sent sexually explicit photos or texts. Safety worries are amplified with this app due to its being a location-based application, which means people will be given access to prey on children knowing that they are close by. This can lead to perverts who pose as teenagers to try and arrange a location meet with the teen.
Thirdly, the aim of this application is to judge superficially, the physical appearance of its members. It’s more than likely that children who are a part of this app can get hurt and upset about their rating on Hot or Not and as a result suffer from extremely low self-esteem. Being exposed to unfavorable judgment from their colleagues can lead to insecurity, emotional stress, and sadness. Also making use of this app could place too much emphasis on your teen’s outer appearance disallowing them from focusing on their true self on the inside. Even the website of the app states that it will reveal to you the popularity of you and your peers. This offers the wrong message to vulnerable teens and takes away every form of cybersafety, placing too much emphasis on being attractive and popular to other people.
How Parents can Prevent their Children from Accessing Hot or Not
As a parent, you would certainly be concerned about how to prevent your teens from gaining access to such dangerous apps and keeping their devices cyber safe. There are numerous ways but as the saying goes prevention is definitely better than the cure. And restricting your child from gaining access to Hot or Not can save you a lot of worry in the future. Here are a few ways to ensuring your teens are safe online:
- Parental Limits or Restriction
If you didn’t already know this, as a parent you can restrict or prevent access to certain applications on any Android or iPhone device. All you need to do is launch the Google play app or iPhone settings and turn on parental settings and disallow Hot or Not from being downloaded or accessed if already downloaded.
- Be Digital
Right before any issue arises to ensure that you familiarize yourself with where your teen visits in the digital world. Know the websites your child accesses online: pay strict attention to their interactions and activities online ( even if it is uninteresting to you). And allow them to have a fun time explaining these things to you.
- Place Social Media Limits
It is very appropriate to set cyber safe limits on a teen or preteen access to various social media apps including Hot or Not to ascertain that you can effectively monitor their activity – this is before you even notice anything thing to be concerned about! Typical limits consist of screen-time limitation on weekends, disallowing “friending” of strangers, and ensuring that the appropriate privacy settings of teens are placed on all their accounts.
- Maintain your Cool
If you discover something troubling, or signs that your teen was trying to access restricted apps like Hot or Not. Ensure that you approach it without being judgemental and recall that your child may be struggling as well with it. Listen. Engage in an open and frank conversation with your teenager related to what you discovered. Always try to avoid stating assumptions about what your child’s motives were or listing previous negative behaviors. Try to really understand the pressures or factors involved in your child’s decision-making process.
Remember to always speak to your teenagers about which apps on their smartphones are appropriate for them to access. Hot or Not is certainly not one that your teen should download on their phone. Ensure that you speak to your teens on how to stay cyber safe and assist them in understanding that the opinions of others should not be the definition of their self-worth as the app Hot or Not claims, and then direct them to apps that are teen-friendly.