6 Messaging Apps That Helps Kids Connect With School Friends

Apr 30, 2017

It’s not just what you say, it’s how you get to say it.

These 6 messaging apps are giving users a plethora of ways to communicate, connect, and create digital content. Whether completely revolutionary or brow raising, they’re here and determined to stay.

Scroll down to see if they’re worthy of a home on your kid’s phone.



Sit With Us

SitWithUsApp

Age 13+
Remember the awkwardness of trying to figure out where to sit for lunch back in grade school? Thanks to technology and the thoughtful 16-year-old girl behind this app, our kids don’t have to know what it feels like. Using a social networking model, the app promotes “kindness and inclusion in schools.” Users can become ambassadors and coordinate open lunch gatherings at school in addition to enjoying the messaging and group chat features. To get started, students simply create a personal profile, add friends or peers from school, and search for open lunch gatherings!

Ratings (0-5 stars):
Educational value: 3/5 (The world could use more kindness and empathy. This app helps to teach and inspire that.)
Ease of play/use: 4/5 (Find friends and create a lunch date with ease.)
Violence & scariness 0
Sexy stuff: 0
Bad Language: 0
Consumerism: 0

Peach - A Place for Friends

PeachApp

Age 13+
The name of the app says it’s a place for friends, but it’s also a place where blogging meets social media messaging. In addition to posting updates, the app provides countless ways to express yourself through the use of magic words, drawings, GIF’s, stickers and more. Although it received a lot of attention when it first debuted in early 2016, some drawbacks are that friends can only be added via your address book (and they must have the app), and judging by a lot of the newer reviews, it appears as though development has halted thereby causing bugs and delays in post updates to occur.

Ratings (0-5 stars):
Educational value: 0
Ease of play/use: 3/5 (Due to the bugs, it’s harder to see old posts from your friends and getting a page to refresh is challenging.)
Violence & scariness 0
Sexy stuff: 0
Bad Language: 0
Consumerism: 0

Jott

Jott

Age 15+
This social media app takes Facebook’s original model of creating networks based on the school the user attends, but (in some ways) took it a step further. Each school has a Bluetooth “mesh” network that enables users to send messages regardless of whether they have cell coverage or Wi-Fi. To register as a user on the network, another student must verify that they actually go to the school and once verified, they can begin sending text, videos, and photos. The developers also ripped a page or two out of Snapchat’s book; content self-destructs after a certain timeframe (or whenever the user decides) and if content is screenshotted, the user receives a notification. The cherry on top is likely that users can also look the Instagram, Snapchat, and Spotify profile names of those in their network, as well as block “haters”, bullies or unwanted content.

Ratings (0-5 stars):
Educational value: 0
Ease of play/use: 4/5 (A few steps to sign up but relatively easy. DO understand that this is Bluetooth enabled so distance/location in the school plays a major part in communication.)
Violence & scariness 1/5 (The content is unmonitored.)
Sexy stuff: 1/5 (The content is unmonitored.)
Bad Language: 1/5 (The content is unmonitored.)
Consumerism: 1/5 (There doesn’t seem to be any in-app purchase opportunities.)

Tribe

TribeApp

Age 15+
This video-messaging app has received nods from Buzzfeed, TechCrunch and Mashable who all agree that Tribe is revolutionary. Once users connect with friends and family, the walkie-talkie style video communication is on – be it a in group or one-on-one chats. There are a few super cool notable features. For example, should you need to silent a video message as you watch, subtitles instantly pop up. Too busy to watch at the moment? Opt to view it later. Appreciate convenience? The app identifies “magic words” in conversations that then link to whatever product, place, social media page, event or meeting date was mentioned.

Ratings (0-5 stars):
Educational value: 0
Ease of play/use: 4/5 (Start chatting with the touch of a finger. Set up a profile with your cell phone number or via Facebook.)
Violence & scariness 1/5 (All content is unmonitored and unfiltered.)
Sexy stuff: 1/5 (All content is unmonitored and unfiltered.)
Bad Language: 1/5 (All content is unmonitored and unfiltered.)
Consumerism: 4/5 (While there are no in-app purchases, the magic words can easily direct you to countless retail sites which may lead to a purchase if desired.)

Path

PathAppLo

Age 16+
With the removal of their once 150-friend limit (they were aiming for quality, not quantity) it’s easy to initially chalk Path up to being just another social media app. That is until encountering one key feature that rivals the industry giant that is Facebook: in-app messaging. No need to download an additional app or request the desktop version to privately message someone; it’s all in one place and easily accessible. One downside is that, as of March 2016, the app was just adding features like mentioning friends in comments, birthday notifications, etc. Also, iPhone users seem to experience more challenges with updates and accessibility to the app.

Ratings (0-5 stars):
Educational value: 0
Ease of play/use: 4/5 (Setup for an account is relatively easy and users can share their Path posts on other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.)
Violence & scariness 1/5 (All content is unmonitored and unfiltered.)
Sexy stuff: 1/5 (All content is unmonitored and unfiltered.)
Bad Language: 1/5 (All content is unmonitored and unfiltered.)
Consumerism: 3/5 (Users can purchase stickers.)

After School - Funny Anonymous School News for Confessions and Compliments

AfterSchoolApp

Age 17+
Simply put, After School serves as a post board for anonymous users to share content and enjoy private messaging. Nonetheless, there are a host of issues for parents and school administrators to be concerned about. The app easily became – and continues to be – a place for gossip, potential bullying, and threats which initially caused it to be removed from the app store. Measures have since been taken to greater enforce age-restrictions to content by the addition of live-moderators who tag posts and there are also live-experts that provide emotional support for users whose posts deem them at-risk for self-harm or violent behavior.

Ratings (0-5 stars):
Educational value: 2/5 (The live-experts feature is one that can likely assist with social-emotional development.)
Ease of play/use: 4/5 (Users sign up for an account by linking to their Facebook, which helps with age and school enrollment verification. School id cards can also be scanned to confirm age.)
Violence & scariness 3/5 (The meme selections vary and some have explicit content.)
Sexy stuff: 4/5 (After School’s profile in the App Store features a woman in underwear with her behind exposed and a slice of cake sitting on it with the caption, “Who got cake?”.)
Bad Language: 3/5 (The meme selections vary and some have explicit content.)
Consumerism: 0/5