Talking to strangers has always been frowned upon but things might change with the newest social media app in the market. Monkey, is a mobile social networking app by the HOLLA Group that allows users to video chat with strangers all over the world.
Although the app has been released since 2016, it only recently reached high ranks throughout 2018 and 2019, with the app in the top 20 social networking apps in 2019. In January 2019, this social network reached over 15 million downloads on both IOS and Android devices. But what really is this app and how safe is it?
Monkey’s main focus and goal, as they put it, is to allow its users to make friends with the people they randomly select for you. The ten-second introductory video call allows the user to get a quick glimpse of the person before they can decide to add more time, skip or add the person on other social platforms.
Although the creators of the app seem to have had an open mind when designing this app, many have called into question just how safe the app is.
Rayshell Marcellin, a Thomas Edison senior, has used Monkey several times to meet new people. “Most of the people I’ve talked to are teenagers but there’s also a lot of little kids who use it.” HOLLA Group has explicitly said that the age rating is seventeen+ and that minors will be “blocked” but there is no age verification.
On the App Store, the age rating is twelve+ with the app’s description stating, “Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content and Nudity, Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor, Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes.” The app’s foremost priority is safety as there is 24/7 content moderation to check for bullying and inappropriate content.
Monkey claims to be “self-governing” and users are given the power to report content, which can be reviewed within minutes. When asked about any negative experiences on the app, Marcellin didn’t have much to say. “I haven’t really had any bad experiences with seeing inappropriate things or anything like that. Maybe like once but it seems pretty safe.” Sexual content is possible, but that is to be expected with social media apps, which is why kids really shouldn’t be using this app.
As one of the newest popular social networking apps, Monkey is better left for the adults to use. Children are too young to be using social media, let alone talking to strangers around the world. In spite of HOLLA’s efforts to keep their server and users safe, there’s only so much they can really do.