Safe Messaging Apps

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Type of Resource

Guidance

Publication Date

September 22, 2023

Topic/s

Privacy and Safety Settings / Social Media and Apps 
In a world filled with apps and platforms, it can be hard to know which one is a safe bet. We have put together a list of apps and platforms that are more suitable for young children to be messaging on.

JusTalk Kids

JusTalk Kids is a ‘Safe Kids Video Chat App’. Children can’t receive friend requests, calls, or messages from strangers, but they can have fun with doodles, stickers, and games during calls. This can help children express their creativity without seeing adverts or being prompted for in-app purchases.

Common Sense Media Rank this App as suitable for Children aged 13+.

Parents and carers can use JusTalk (which is a separate app) to talk to children in their care, who use JusTalk kids. The adult version is a paid subscription service.

The app uses Wi-Fi so there is no need for a phone or sim card, there is an option to provide a phone number, but users can create a ‘user ID’ instead.

JusTalk Kids is available on the App Store and Google Play Store for both Apple and Android devices.

GeckoLife

GeckoLife is a platform that allows individuals and groups to communicate safely. Users can chat and share pictures, videos, and store media.

Common Sense Media ranks this app as suitable for Children 8+ years and it carries a PEGI rating of 3+ years.

They can also interact on ‘canvasses’ by topic of interest or a defined group of topics. Users can log in independently or as part of an organisation, like a school or club.

Children can create canvasses where they can store text, images, videos, or documents. GeckoLife allows families to share photos and ideas together.

GeckoLife is available on the App Store and Google Play Store for both Apple and Android devices.

Stars: Private, Fun Messenger

Stars is a free messaging app aimed at children, where they can add friends and family to chat either privately or in groups. Groups are assigned their own username and PIN, allowing you to control access.

The App carries a PEGI rating of 3 years old.

Users don’t have to provide a phone number or upload their contacts and PINs can be reset at any time. Children can share photos, audio messages, and videos, but require a username and a PIN to add a friend. Users can customise their fonts and colours and there is no function to search usernames.

Stars is available on the App Store and Google Play Store for both Apple and Android devices.

Toco Mail

Toco Mail is an email service for children with an instant messenger interface. Younger children access a simplified email account and older children receive standard accounts.

The platform includes a drawing board, so children have the option to get creative. Common Sense Media recommends the app for children aged 5 and up.

Emails from unknown contacts are kept in a ‘quarantine box’ where parents approve or reject emails. The profanity filter also screens emails and quarantines any containing inappropriate language.

Parents can add family members and approved contacts to a ‘safe list’, allowing children to contact them without parental approval.

There is a one-week free trial, after which it costs $2.99 a month or $29.99 a year.

Toco Mail is available on the App Store and Google Play Store for both Apple and Android devices.

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