ooVoo safety: a how to guide for parents

By Internet Matters Team on

The fourth in our series of how to guides looks at the free video, voice and messaging app, ooVoo. ooVoo  has over 100 million registered users in 130 countries and the minimum age to sign-up for an account is 13.

How does ooVoo work?

ooVoo accounts are created using an email address or a Facebook account, and a pin code is sent to your mobile to verify the account.

The app allows your child to send free texts, video, and photos to contacts they’ve added to their ooVoo account. It also allows them to make video calls, and start a group video chat with up to 12 people at once.

NB: During a video chat your child can minimize or maximize themselves or other callers, and see up four people at a time on the screen.

ooVoo is a free app but there is also a premium service which includes international calls to 70 countries. Also, the premium version allows you to remove advertisements.

What privacy settings are available?

ooVoo is popular with teens because it allows them to chat to people outside their friendship group, but it’s important that they are aware of their privacy settings.

Your child can specify how and if people can find them on ooVoo.

NB. The default privacy settings in ooVoo is set to ‘public’, but this can be changed at any time.

To find these settings, click the profile photo, click the Settings icon (“gear” icon) and then select “Privacy & Security”.

You can also customise to show what the person wants to share with his / her contacts. It’s best not to include any private information in this status, and it may be best to leave this blank entirely.

NB. When creating a username, advise your child to only use their first name.

How can I manage who see my child’s platform?

There are three settings to manage who can find your child on ooVoo:

1. Anyone – This is the default setting and will allow your child’s profile photo and status to be seen by all users.
2. Only those who know my email – With this option, only a person or a friend who knows your child’s email address or ooVoo ID can find them and send a friend request.
3. No one – By choosing No one, your child has total control over who can contact them. No one can contact them unless they are an invited friend.

Ensure that your child remembers that anything shared online can be saved and forwarded included video chats. There are programs that allow ooVoo user to record group video chats without anyone knowing.

Managing what content they can see

If your child receives an unwanted invitation or an inappropriate contact, they can block the request. Once blocked, a user cannot contact them again. If they are harassed or threatened, they can
also report the person to ooVoo.

Follow these steps to block or remove users:

1. Tap and hold on a contact and it will highlight red
2. Tap the block icon and then tap block. Select ‘Block and Remove‛ option to remove them from your child‛s friend list.

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