Are you familiar with the apps your teen uses to talk to friends? Check out our list of 9 popular text messaging apps.

In the technological age we live in, there are more ways to communicate than anyone could possibly stay on top of. Snapchat, FaceTime, Houseparty… the list continues to expand. It is important to keep pace with some of the apps your teen may be using to talk to friends, so we compiled a list of popular messaging apps kids are now using.

Popular Messaging Apps Teens Use:  

1. Oovoo

Oovoo is quite standard as far as communication apps go; users can text and send multimedia, or video chat with up to 8 friends. To keep up with recent trends, Oovoo released a new “Chains” feature that is very similar to a Snapchat Story, but with a slightly more interactive twist. 

Users can add their video, image, or text on to a “Chain.” These chains are either just seen by friends if they are private, or by anyone in the world who wants to view that public community chain.  

2. Threema

During a time in which we see our privacy evaporating at an almost daily rate, $2.99 can feel like a worthwhile cost for security. Threema is an anonymous, encrypted messaging service where users can make secure and private voice calls, send instant messages and media that automatically delete upon delivery. 

This is all done using only a Threema ID, so it remains anonymous. Contact lists and group memberships are not stored on any server, as they are managed on the device alone. Parents might want to steer their teens away from this app due to the unsafe nature of anonymous messaging and disappearing messages.             

3. Airtime

Airtime is the ambitious intersection of group chats and video chats. It is a hybrid of other popular apps - essentially GroupMe meets Skype. Users can share media, links, music, and more in real time on a group chat with up to ten people, so they can watch friends reactions. 

Parents should treat this the same as any other group video chat and only allow their teens to use this app with caution. However, parents will be happy to know that kids can only talk to people on their friend list and not total strangers.

4. MeetMe

Rated for users 17 and older, the MeetMe is not an app for kids. This Tinder and Skype hybrid connects nearby users and allows them to video chat on the app. It’s not a kid-friendly concept, and parents should be wary of MeetMe. 

5. Message+

Message+, by Verizon Wireless, is an app similar to iMessage in the Apple universe, integrating messaging across all devices. Originally for Verizon users, the platform is now available for non-Verizon users as well. 

It is designed to create seamless integration for multimedia messages, group chats of up to 250 people, and a variety of other features, such as location sharing, for every connected device. While this app itself isn't dangerous, the features it offers should only be used by mature teens.

6. Viber

Viber is a free platform for voice, video, and text messaging. Users can create group chats and private chats to send texts and media or make free voice calls to friends using Viber across the globe. 

Viber connects users from most popular platforms such as iOS, Android, and Windows, so everyone is on the same platform. A phone number or a Facebook profile is used for identification.

7. WeChat

WeChat is a standard messaging app where users chat, sending stickers and other media, in groups or one-to-one. One feature that parents should be aware of is the map and location sharing. 

Not only can users see nearby friends and contacts, but there is also a "shake to meet" feature that brings up other users in the area.             

8. Look

With all the features of any messaging service, Look differentiates with the capability to live stream within your chats and to engage in large groups and communities by communicating on Channels. 

There are a wide variety of Channels for many different topics, and it is a great place to learn about a hobby or cultivate an interest, but kids should understand the importance of responsibility in a public forum. Parents should also be aware that because of the live streaming capabilities and access to large groups, this is not recommended for kids to use.            

9. Telegram

Telegram, self-described as the fastest messaging service in the world, is a communication app rated for users 17 and older. All data is stored on the Telegram cloud, so group chats of up to 30,000 people are possible. There is also a “Secret Chat” feature, in which the message self-destructs on from both devices, leaving no trace. Parents may want their kids to avoid this app!


About Tyler Percival

Tyler is a young writer seeking to bring the mindset of a millennial to the conversation on the ever-shifting environment of digital parenting.