Social Network Spotlight: Appear.in
Appear.in is a video chat service that allows up to eight users, desktop or mobile, to connect without an account or login. Users create a video chat room and send a link to whomever they choose. Anyone with the link can participate in the video chat.
There’s no need to create an account, verify identity, or set up a profile using Appear.in. Users can decide to make the video chat remain totally anonymous and can participate without any actual lasting connection to the service.
- User-friendly UI with very little knowledge required to participate
- No hoops to jump through to start a video chat with friends, coworkers, or classmates
- Use any device to connect and get right to the conversation
- There is an option to create “Locked” rooms to maintain privacy
- Platform-agnostic service allows almost any device to connect
- Totally anonymous login with no verification of identity
- The barrier to entry is so low as almost anyone anywhere can connect with a potential victim
- Without needing an account, users can connect with a person they likely should not with little evidence
- Anyone from a child predator to a bully can easily create a room and invite a victim into a direct video chat with one click
Tips for educators
- Appear.in, if used in a classroom/school setting, should be monitored carefully.
- Ensure users share video links carefully so only intended users participate.
- Encourage students to create accounts and communicate only with people they know in “Locked” rooms.
- Consider other video options if the use of Appear.in goes unsupervised.
Appear.in can be a very useful tool when used correctly and in the appropriate company. Using the service to communicate easily with friends or family in either a school setting or personal has many benefits over a tool like Google Hangouts that requires account creation and a profile, but those benefits do not outweigh the possibility of safety risks.
Any service that promotes anonymity and does not require verification or account creation should be left to adults or under the direct supervision of parents or teachers. As always, the safest way for a student to use any social network is for their usage to be monitored by an adult.
Gaggle’s Safety Representatives continue to discover websites and apps that pose potential risks to students. Here’s a popular and ever-growing list of “Top Social Networks & Apps Your Kids Use.”