Teen apps in focus: Everything parents need to know about LINE

teenage apps

LINE—another instant messaging app was designed during the Tohoku earthquake that struck Japan in 2011. The purpose for developing a Instant Messenger app was to provide people to connect with their families, coworkers and loved ones around the world through internet, because the natural calamity had left national communications collaterally damaged. Just like other social media apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Kik—Line also has flaws of its own.

What is LINE?

LINE is an instant messaging app that can allow its users to send/receive photos, videos and voice recordings using WiFi or carrier’s data plan. The app can also be used for audio and video calls. It’s an app with some nuances like options for games and stickers. Users can write a word the app would automatically suggest a relating sticker, just like word suggestions. It also allows users to share original content that they can design themselves.

The app is a one-shop-stop where users are provided a wide range of multimedia entertainment like music, videos, photos, games and a built-in store, from where you can purchase stickers. Teens love this app because it provide additional ways for them to connect with others using emoticons and fun stickers.

Who are the users?

LINE is widely popular amongst teens, but they are not the only ones comprising the large user base that the app has.

The app has around 700 million users worldwide, with 54 million from Japan. The app is second most popular app in Asia after WhatsApp.

LINE generate a hefty $200 million in revenue, largely through their in-app sales. The app also started its animated series called LINE offline.

There is no age limit to sign up for this app, but minors do have to ask for parental permission.

LINE—an interactive instant messenger

The app is famous for it’s in-app store with additional accoutrements like option for gaming. Much of what LINE earns is through its in-app sales of emoticons and stickers. Thought these stickers are not very expensive, but still, they can slowly add up to a significant amount over time. The stickers, though very adorable, provide nothing more than just draining of your kids’ finances. It maybe amusing but not an appendage in any circumstance.

LINE is a fun way for kids to interact and make friends through messaging and gaming. Though the app is potentially harmless (albeit expensive), it has a few downsides.

What LINE is dangerous for teens?

Apart from hundreds of dollars that teens can possibly spend on stickers, the app is dangerous just like it other social media apps. Teens can and do fall victim cyber-harassment, bullying and catfishing. LINE doesn’t offer rigorous filtering like Facebook, but it still has better privacy settings that allow users to keep their profiles personal and also let them filter messages.

However, there is one features that worrisome. LINE allows its users to send hidden messages that are much like the self-disappearing messages of Snapchat. But this app allows for how long the messages are to kept available i.e. from 2 secs to 2 weeks.

These disappearing messages are a big problem. It allows teens to have personal conversations with others without the need for deleting the messages afterwards. However, others can save a screenshot of the conversations which is why the app is so dangerous. Kids believe that they are having safe chat without leaving any logs, but in reality, everything conversation can be saved through screenshots.

As parents, your biggest concern should be with app’s in-app purchases. Also, talk to your kids about safe online behavior and what kind of information to share online with others.

LINE can be really fun to use, if it’s done responsibly.

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