What Is GroupMe?
GroupMe is a messaging app owned by Microsoft. It was acquired by Skype shortly after it was developed at TechCrunch Disrupt 2010, then since Microsoft acquired Skype. The app has a 4.5+ store rating with over 10 million monthly active users worldwide.
GroupMe enables users to instantly send a message, image, or video for free. A new user can sign up using their Facebook or Microsoft/Skype credentials, phone number, or email address. Though it also offers private conversations, GroupMe is widely known as a platform for group conversations, hence the name. The app also comes with fun and special emojis, stickers, GIFs, and memes.
Signing In To GroupMe
After a user downloads the GroupMe app from Google Play or the App Store, they can use their Facebook ID, Microsoft/Skype ID, phone number, or email address to log into the app. They will then be able to import contacts directly from their phone to begin messaging.
Start A School Group
One feature of GroupMe that helps students is the ability to start a group for those who are in their class or going to their school. The user will need a school email address. Click the pencil and paper icon located in the top right of the app and click Start School Group to get a pin sent to your email address.
Potential Risks of GroupMe
GroupMe does have access to inappropriate content if the user knows what to look for. There are inappropriate GIFs that can be sent through the app, and it is also possible for users to send one another explicit photos and videos. Because of the dangers of using a social media platform and text messaging app like GroupMe, it’s important for parents to understand the risks of the app and what they can do to help keep their kids safe.
GroupMe also allows users to send source links to websites that may be inappropriate, as well as send explicit videos within the app itself.
Group Messages on GroupMe
One of the most popular features on GroupMe is the ability to add other users to a group chat. It is useful for a group that is using a mix of iOS and Android devices because it allows them all to message each other within a single group. One potential danger for kids in these group chats is sending inappropriate content, images, or video links.
Can’t Delete Past Posts
GroupMe does not allow its users to delete their past posts. This means that if a child sends a picture or video that a parent wants them to delete or unsend, they will not be able to do so. The inability to edit or delete old posts makes the messaging app potentially dangerous for kids who may send explicit photos and videos on the platform.
Adding and Removing Users From Group Chats
One feature in GroupMe that can lead to cyberbullying amongst kids is the ability to publicly add and remove others from their group chat. If a kid is getting picked in, it could carry over onto the GroupMe app. If they are removed from the group, the rest of the group gets a notification within the group saying that they have been removed. This can be a way for kids to pick on other children and get in cyber fights by adding and removing people from a GroupMe chat.
GroupMe Parental Controls
You probably have a list of apps you let your kids download or utilize with rigid monitoring. Like most apps, GroupMe comes with the usual dangers of excessive screen time, exposure to inappropriate content via group messages, and the like. The app also doesn’t allow users to delete old messages. Whatever your requirements may be, here are some parental control features to keep your kids safe on GroupMe.
Block A User
Although GroupMe contacts cannot be deleted, you can block people from contacting your child or adding them to group chats. This will prevent them from sending photos and videos to your child. From the Main Menu, simply select Contacts. Choose the contact you want to be blocked → Tap on Block → Click Yes (or Block) in the confirmation window.
Activate Request To Join Feature
If you want to closely monitor your kid’s groups, go ahead and activate the Request to Join Feature. This will add an extra layer to filtering the people your child connects with. For someone to join their group, whether via a link, QR code, or Campus Connect, they will need the approval of the group administrator.
Simply go to the group → Tap the Group Avatar →Select Settings → Slide on the Request to Join. You can also enable the Ask Join Question (then set a Custom Join/Membership Question).
Leave a Group
If members of a group continue to send photos or text messages that are inappropriate, leave the group or end it if you’re the creator. Just select the group → Tap the Chat Avatar → Select Settings → Scroll down and choose to Leave Group or End Group.
Keeping Kids Safe on GroupMe
GroupMe is rated E (Everyone) in Google Play and is rated 4+ in the App Store. Even taking into consideration the safety nets in place, some trusted rating boards and review sites don’t recommend the app to users under the age of 16. Some parents, wherein GroupMe is one of the main apps their kids use, are worried about in-app purchasing, age-inappropriate content, privacy, and the ability to delete past posts.
Like other social media platforms, GroupMe is constantly enhanced to provide a safer environment to users but cannot guarantee 100% security. This is why regardless of their age or the platform your kids use, be sure to take precautionary actions and enable GroupMe parental controls.
Frequently Asked Questions About GroupMe Parental Controls & Safety
Does GroupMe have a member limit?
As its name implies, GroupMe is well-known for its ability to cater to large groups of users conversing at the same time. By default, the app supports group chats with up to 500 members.
How secure is GroupMe?
What does the lock symbol mean on GroupMe?
The Lock icon beside a contact’s name means that the user has chosen to not share their presence or status which would normally be displayed. This can be accessed by navigating to the Share availability information within the Settings page.
Does GroupMe sell data?
GroupMe, as per their terms of service, only collects user data so they can offer a more personalized experience and better services, and improve their marketing strategies. There’ve been claims and rumors in the past about GroupMe selling user data to make money, but there is no proof of this.