About the App
Launched in 2015 Wishbone describes itself as “the go-to for comparing anything your heart desires,” with over 3.1 million active monthly users globally. It is targeted at and is particularly popular with, teenage girls.
What is the Wishbone’s Minimum age?
The Terms and Conditions don’t clearly specify but according to Common Sense Media 15+ would be recommended.
How does it work?
Creating an account
It is possible to log in using other social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram but, if you choose not to, the site gives you a username and you begin acquiring followers straight away.
What can you do on the app?
Users are presented with two ‘cards’ and are asked to choose a preference. Users are also able to produce their own cards for others to select their preference. Some of the cards can include revealing outfits and there can be the incidence of inappropriate language in some of the comments that can be written underneath a card and on the user-generated cards.
How safe is the Wishbone app?
In terms of safety, users are able to write comments underneath cards or, in the case that two users follow one another, send other users a direct message using a facility which is very similar to a chat room. Some users have generated cards including images of people that they know for other site users to select the prettiest or hottest.
Users of Wishbone are invited to create a public profile and bio. Whilst it is possible to use the app without revealing any personal information, in choosing to link the app to other social media accounts, it is possible for Wishbone to accumulate a large amount of personal information from users. This profile of the user is then widened by their expressed preferences whilst using the app. Users are then exposed to a high volume of targeted advertising.
Concerns about the app
- Security breach on app: In March 2017 the app was hacked and millions of users personal information was circulated on the internet
- Cyberbullying: As it is a comparison tool, children could use it to compare each other and incite cyberbullying on the app.
- Online grooming: There is the potential risk of online grooming as adult users could target younger users and take advantage of their trust.
- Data collection: If a child connects their Facebook or Twitter account to the app, it will collect information about their friends and those they have in common with on the Wishbone app.
- Private Messages: User can send private messages to each other if they follow each other so it’s important to make sure teens only follow ‘real friends’ rather than people they have never met.
Why do teens love the app?
It offers teens an escape and could be considered like reading a magazine while you are waiting for an appointment. Most of the content is centred around popular celebrities and fashion.
What do other parents say about the app?
According to the Common Sense Media site, many parents have concerns about the direct messaging functionality that enables teens can speak to people they don’t know in real life in without any restrictions or safeguards in place. See full comments from parents.