Skip to content ↓
Putteridge Primary School

Putteridge Primary School


There are a multitude of apps that enable people to connect with each other.  These all have recommended minimum ages to help keep children and young people safe but do you know what these are?

Many children prefer not to use apps such as Facebook because they know their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. are on it, so they prefer to contact each other using other platforms.  Do you know enough about these to keep your child safe?  

Listed below are some of the more popular social media platforms among children and young people.  The list provides a summary with the more detailed, 'What Parents Need to Know' guides available as PDFs at the bottom of the page.

Amigo (18+)
Amigo is a social platform which purports to connect strangers from around the world – and, with built-in translation software, it reduces the expected language barriers. Focusing heavily on one-to-one chat, video calls and live streams, Amigo encourages its users to build up online relationships to unlock exclusive features such as private video and audio calls: essentially, the more that people chat, the more features become available to them. This is an app designed with mature users very much in mind and is therefore definitely not recommended for children

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as inappropriate contact, strangers and membership costs. 
COPYRIGHT: National Online Safety

Clubhouse (18+)
Clubhouse is an audio-only social media networking app that is currently available only to Apple users. The app encourages conversation between users, in various rooms discussing topics from the serious (health, sports, cryptocurrency, etc) to the more frivolous (favourite cereals, corniest jokes and so on). Clubhouse is like an interactive podcast that allows real-time two-way communication. 

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as adult content, no age verification and insufficient safety protocols.
COPYRIGHT: National Online Safety

Discord (13+)
Discord is a free app which allows users to communicate in real time via text, video or voice chat. Available on desktop and mobile devices, it was originally designed to help gamers cooperate – but has evolved into a more general networking platform for a range of online communities, discussing topics like TV series, music, Web3 and more. Discord is organised around closed groups, referred to as ‘servers’. To join a server, users must be invited or provided with a unique link. It’s a space for users to interact with friends, meet others with shared interests and collaborate in private online — but it’s also a place where young people can be exposed to risks if the right precautions aren’t taken.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as cyberbullying, predators and inappropriate content.
COPYRIGHT: National Online Safety

FaceApp (13+)
FaceApp, as the name suggests, is an app by Wireless Lab which uses uploaded images of someone’s face, and allows them to add a variety of interesting filters making themselves look older, younger, appear with different hair colour and so on. The app uses either the camera on your phone to take a selfie, or lets you use a picture from somewhere like Facebook or Instagram to apply these filters. While this all sounds like innocent fun, there have been some valid concerns raised about the terms and conditions, and what the company is doing with all these selfies and pictures.

In this guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as online crime, access and copycat apps.
COPYRIGHT: National Online Safety

Facebook (13+)
With 2.9 billion users, Facebook, owned by the recently rebranded Meta, is the world’s most popular social media platform. It encourages interaction with other people by (among other things) adding them as friends, reacting to or commenting on their content, sharing images and videos, posting status updates, joining groups and playing games. Facebook is free, and anyone over 13 can join – but with no age verification, younger children can easily create an account: it’s likely your child is already familiar with the platform, even if they don’t yet use it themselves.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as cyberbullying, strangers and the addictive nature of Facebook.
COPYRIGHT: National Online Safety

Facebook Messenger (13+)
Facebook Messenger is a communication app through which users can exchange messages and send photos, stickers, and video and audio files. Messenger allows both one-to-one and group chats, has a ‘stories’ feature and – via its latest addition, Rooms – can host a video call with up to 50 people. As of 2021, the app had 35 million users in the UK alone (more than half the population!) among its 1.3 billion users worldwide. Whereas Messenger is integrated into Facebook on desktops and laptops, it has existed as a standalone app for mobile devices since 2011.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as addiction, strangers and secret conversations.
COPYRIGHT: National Online Safety

HiPal - two account options: Under 12 or 12+
HiPal is a trending social media app which turns phones into walkie-talkies, allowing people to have voice conversations with friends or strangers. There are two account options: one for users aged under 12 and one for those aged 12 or above. The former has fewer features and limits interaction with strangers; enabling use of the walkie-talkie feature or photo sharing with friends and family only. The 12+ accounts offer more options, including adding strangers as friends, sharing photos and videos publicly, send private messages and holding voice chats with strangers as well as friends.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as contact with strangers, dangerous challenges and intrusive features. 
COPYRIGHT: National Online Safety

Instagram (13+)
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, with over 1 billion users worldwide. The platform allows users to upload images and videos to their feed, create interactive ‘stories’, share live videos, exchange private messages or search, explore and follow other accounts they like – whilst at the same time continuously updating and adding new features to meet the needs of its users.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as addiction, unrealistic ideals and the influencer culture.
COPYRIGHT: National Online Safety

Kik (13+)
Kik is a free messaging app used by 300 million people worldwide that lets users exchange messages, photos, videos, GIFs and webpages via a Wi-Fi connection or data plan. Kik is unusual in that your child can sign up without a phone number and then find and message other people via just their username. Kik is aimed at anyone aged 13 years and older – the app says teens between 13 and 18 years old will need parental permission but it does not verify ages.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as online grooming, sexting and fake profiles.
COPYRIGHT: National Online Safety

Likee (16+)
LIKEE is a free video creation and editing app similar to TikTok. It has a global community of over 200 million users who can create any type of video, add their own special effects and then upload and share them with the world. The app is largely used to create short music videos which users can star in and edit anyway they want using the “Magic Video Maker.” Users share their videos on the platform as well as having the option to share across other social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram. Due to the suggestive content that is available on the app, it has a recommended age of 16+, although the app store rate it as 17+.

In this guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as online grooming, cyberbullying and inappropriate content.
COPYRIGHT: National Online Safety

LiveMe (17+)

LiveMe is a streaming video app that lets you watch live streams and broadcast your own live videos to anyone interested. The service, which claims to have amassed more than 60 million global users and streams around 300,000 hours of footage a day, is aimed at giving creators a ‘platform to reach a wide audience and share their talents and passions directly with their fans’. Users can buy virtual coins and gifts and send these to broadcasters who create content ‘they love’, which can be redeemed for real money.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as online grooming, cyberbullying and privacy & security.
COPYRIGHT: National Online Safety

NGL / Not Gonna Lie (18+)

NGL is another of those ‘bolt-on’ apps which is designed to work alongside a major social media network. In this instance, the ‘host’ platforms are Instagram and Twitter – with NGL (meaning, as you may have surmised, ‘Not Gonna Lie’) inviting a user’s friends and followers to ask them questions anonymously. An intriguing novelty, perhaps – but also not without risk.

Human nature being what it is, some people take the smokescreen of online anonymity as an excuse to behave in ways that they certainly wouldn’t if their identity were visible. The idea of exposing young social media users to anonymous messages is one which understandably concerns many parents: our  guide brings you the facts about NGL. 

This guide will highlight a number of potential risks including oversharing, cyber-bullying and potentially costly subscription fees.
COPYRIGHT: National Online Safety

Reddit (13+)
Reddit describes itself as a ‘social news’ site where users connect and share stories, opinions and support; debate issues; ask questions; and chat to people with similar interests. Discussion topics are organised into communities (known as subreddits) that are created, run and populated by users, who remain anonymous throughout. Free speech is encouraged and users – or ‘redditors’ – can vote posts ‘up’ or ‘down’ so they get more (or less) attention. Reddit is free to join, although signing up to Reddit Premium unlocks an advert-free version of the platform. 

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as harassment, trolling and fake news. 
COPYRIGHT:National Online Safety

SnapChat (13+)
Snapchat is a photo- and video-sharing app through which users can chat with friends via text or audio. Images and videos can be shared with specific friends, or as a ‘story’ (documenting the previous 24 hours) that’s visible to a person’s entire friend list. Snapchat usage rose during the lockdowns, with many young people utilising it to stay connected with their peers. The app continues to develop features to engage an even larger audience and emulate current trends, rivalling platforms such as TikTok and Instagram.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as sexting, visible location and strangers.
COPYRIGHT:National Online Safety

Spotify (13+)
With around 60,000 songs added to its online library every day, Spotify is a vast treasure trove of audio dating from some 19th century recordings through to giants of the download age like The Weeknd and Ed Sheeran. Factor podcasts, audiobooks and videos into the mix, and the Swedish-based streaming platform quite literally offers something for everyone. 

Not everything in Spotify’s depths is universally suitable, however. The sheer mass of music and content on the platform mean that, naturally, not all of it is intended for younger listeners. With an audio chat service available and media reports of predatory activity, this guide highlights other aspects of Spotify which trusted adults ought to be in the loop about. 

In the guide you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as age-inappropriate lyrics, an audio chat function and recent reports of predatory activity.
COPYRIGHT:National Online Safety

TikTok (13+)
TikTok is a free social media platform that lets users create, share and watch short videos ranging anywhere from 15 seconds to 10 minutes in duration. The app gained notoriety for its viral dances, trends and celebrity cameos and can be a creative, fun platform for teens to enjoy. Now available in 75 languages, it has more than a billion active users worldwide (as of spring 2022) and is most popular with the under-16 age bracket. In fact, a 2022 Ofcom report found TikTok to be the most-used social media platform for posting content, particularly among young people aged 12 to 17.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as age-inappropriate content, dangerous challenges and contact with strangers.
COPYRIGHT:National Online Safety

Triller (12+)
Triller is a social media video sharing app. Unlike TikTok and many other video sharing apps, Triller focuses more on making creative music videos. Users can film multiple takes of themselves and the app with then automatically compile the best clips and turn it into a music video. It is free to download and has amassed over 250 million downloads worldwide, including celebrity users such as Justin Bieber, Eminem and Alicia Keys.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as mature content, cyberbullying and unauthorised sharing of your child’s video.
COPYRIGHT:National Online Safety

Tumblr (16+)
Tumblr is a popular social media platform and microblogging site with over 463 million blogs on its platform. In Europe you must be over 16 to sign up, but the age limit is just 13 elsewhere. However, in both cases, age verification is limited. The platform is designed to share different types of content, such as videos, photos or short articles. People can react to each other’s content, share items they like, and even interact through the platform with direct messages.

In this guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as adult content, oversharing and fake news.
COPYRIGHT:National Online Safety

WhatsApp (16+)
WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging service, with around two billion users exchanging texts, photos, videos and documents, as well as making voice and video calls. Its end-to-end encryption means messages can only be viewed by the sender and any recipients: not even WhatsApp can read them. Updates to its privacy policy in 2021 (involving sharing data with parent company Facebook) caused millions to leave the app, but the new policy was widely misinterpreted – it only related to WhatsApp’s business features, not to personal messages.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as scams, strangers and location sharing.
COPYRIGHT:National Online Safety

WeChat (13+)
WeChat is an all-in-one communications app for free text messaging, voice and video calls, photo sharing and games. Additionally, through “mini-programs” (apps integrated into the main WeChat platform), it becomes a one-stop shop by allowing users to do things like send payments, make purchases or book taxis, flights and hotels. Headquartered in Shenzhen, China, WeChat is one of the world’s most popular social media downloads, with around 980 million active users.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as adult content, strangers and drug dealing.
COPYRIGHT:National Online Safety

Wink (13+)
Wink is a messaging app which allows children to connect and communicate with other users. In a similar style to Tinder, Wink uses the swipe method for browsing profiles and accepting or declining them. Once two users have accepted each other by swiping on each other’s profile, they can then communicate and play games online together. The fact that Wink allows children to share photos, personal information and their location with other users has caused significant concern.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as grooming, cyberbullying and inappropriate content.
COPYRIGHT:National Online Safety

X (formerly known as Twitter) (13+) 

The social media network formerly known as Twitter has undergone numerous alterations since its change of ownership and rebranding as X – and many of these recent developments have proved controversial. With any user now simply able to pay a fee for account verification, for example, the once-reliable ‘blue tick’ system has become largely meaningless.

It’s just one of several changes that have set the social media giant on what many consider a concerning path in online safety terms. This guide provides a run-down of the most significant tweaks made to X; their potential safeguarding implications; and how to help ensure young people minimise the risks while they continue to use the service.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as trolls, fake news and propaganda.
COPYRIGHT:National Online Safety

YOLO (13+)
YOLO is an anonymous question and answer app that works in combination with Snapchat. In May 2019 it became the most downloaded app in the UK iTunes store only a week after its release and with no prior marketing or promotion. It has become hugely popular amongst children, particularly teenagers, as it offers them the opportunity to join in anonymous Q&A without having to reveal their identities, which often encourages more honest and open peer feedback.

In this guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as anonymity, cyberbullying and age verification.
COPYRIGHT:National Online Safety

YouTube (13+ to register an account)
YouTube is a video-sharing social media platform that allows billions of people around the world to watch, share and upload their own videos with a vast range of content – including sport, entertainment, education and lots more. It’s a superb space for people to consume content that they’re interested in. As a result, this astronomically popular platform has had a huge social impact: influencing online culture on a global scale and creating new celebrities.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as connecting with strangers, inappropriate content and high visibility.
COPYRIGHT:National Online Safety

YouTube Kids (Parents need to set up)
YouTube Kids is a child-friendly version of YouTube, offering a colourful and easy-to-navigate environment which is suitable for young children. The app is easily accessible and can be downloaded for phones and tablets without needing the YouTube app to be on the device already. Although YouTube Kids is obviously intended to be (and mainly succeeds in being) an extremely child-friendly platform, it has still raised concerns over its advertising policy as well as inappropriate content seeping through the curation process.

In the guide, you'll find tips such as disabling the search option, restricting viewing time and monitoring the watch history.
COPYRIGHT:National Online Safety

Yubo (13+) 
Yubo is a social networking platform where users can chat and livestream with up to 10 friends at once. People can connect with others based on location, with a Tinder-style ‘swiping’ mechanism to accept or reject someone based on their profile pictures. The app has approximately 50 million users worldwide – but despite its popularity, Yubo has not been free from controversy. While the app claims to monitor inappropriate content, a newspaper investigation in early 2022 found young users being exposed to sexual harassment, racism, bullying and conversations with adult themes.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as cyberbullying, inappropriate content and flimsy age gates.
COPYRIGHT:National Online Safety