Tagged is not for keeping up with your current friends. It is a social network for meeting new people and is part of the latest wave of social discovery apps. These apps are for building new relationships and Tagged offers lots of activities to help people connect.
The two biggest features on Tagged is Pets and MeetMe. Pets is a game that allows members to buy and sell each other. The object of the game is to build a team of pets that is worth the most gold. Member can show they are interested in someone by buying them or placing them on their wish list. The other popular way to meet people is with MeetMe. Here, members click through pictures answering the question “Are You Interested?” If they click on “Yes” and the other person clicks “Yes”, then members can send each other a message, a comment, a virtual gift or a wink.
17% of Tagged members are under 18. Tagged does try to keep these younger members separate from adults. Members under 18 can only interact with people who also list their birth date as under 18. These relationships may begin online but many move to the real world. According to a Tagged user survey, 92% of members surveyed eventually meet in person. 28% of members choose to meet after 1 week and 51% meet after a month.
These social discovery apps are fun but teens need to be careful. If a teen wants to sign up for Tagged, parents should discuss with them the concerns about meeting an online friend offline. Skout, a mobile app, was forced to close down its social network for 13-17 year olds when three adults were arrested after using the app to prey on young teens. Although rare, these incidents can occur so parents need to talk to their kids about how to protect their privacy and stay safe on these sites.
Protecting Personal Information –Tagged has a lot of privacy settings. Teens can choose who they share different information with by changing their settings to “Everyone”, “My country”, “My friends” or “Nobody”. Most members also protect their privacy by not using full names and they do not fill out all the profile information. What members do share are photos. Teens should make sure that what photos they share online, they would be comfortable seeing across the internet.
Sending messages – Protecting personal information extends beyond just their profile. Teens should not share personal information via messages and comments. They should be wary of anyone asking for a lot of personal information or sending links in messages. Online dating sites do have problems with phishing scams and identity theft.
Chatting online – If teens are using Tagged’s mobile app, they can chat with other members within 5 miles to 100 miles of their current location. Chatting with someone who is just 5 miles away can make it easy to set up an impromptu get together. When chatting with someone, they should keep a safe distance and not share their exact location.
Reporting inappropriate behavior – Teens should end any conversation that turns sexual or the other person asks for a personal photo or video. At worst this person is a predator at best they are a creep. If teens feel uncomfortable about a situation, they should tell their parents and Tagged. Tagged has a lot of safety information on its website for both parents and teens. It does allow members to block users and report inappropriate behavior .
Meeting online people in the real world – Ultimately, no one is sure who someone is online. Teens should keep these friends as cyberpals and exclusively online. For a young adult who is over 18 and interested in meeting in person, Wired Safety has an excellent list of safety precautions including googling the person, meeting in a public place, and bringing a friend. Teens using these social discovery apps should keep it fun, safe and online.