Recently, I had a friend ask me about a new app she discovered on her child’s phone. When it comes to apps, her kid is always two steps ahead of everyone else at middle school. Her new app is Wishbone. Wishbone launched in May 2015 and is gaining in popularity, especially with girls.
If you have a child, who wishes they could spend hours filling out marketing surveys, Wishbone is the app for them. On Wishbone, teens vote on which two items they like best. Most polls are comparing fashion (keds vs. boots) or celebrities (Johnny Depp vs. Leo DiCaprio). Once they choose, they can see how other people voted and comment on the poll.
This app is a social network. Teens have a public profile with a picture and bio. They can follow other users and anyone can follow them. Every day, Wishbone puts together a curated feed of the best surveys. After they complete the curated feed, teens can check out the community feed or visit their friends’ pages for more polls.
Why kids love Wishbone
Cruising around Wishbone, you see mostly girls and young teens. This is evident in the profile pics and the excessive number of usernames inspired by Taylor Swift – taytay13, ilovetaylor, swifty11. Most of the polls center around girls fashion, interests and popular celebrities.
Wishbone is different from most social networks. Here, girls are not sharing who they are but what they prefer. Unlike Instagram that requires photo worthy adventures or even Snapchat that requires something of interest, wishbones reveals nothing about the user. Unless the girl comments, no one even knows how she voted.
This app is mindless fun. Wishbone aspires to be the app teens turn to when their bored or need to kill time. It is the equivalent of flipping through a US magazine at the doctor’s office. Even so, parents should talk to their kids about sharing on wishbone and protecting their information.
What kids should watch out for on Wishbone
Initially, I was afraid teens would use Wishbone for a “who is the prettiest” survey. Comparing keds and boots was one thing; comparing friends was another. I did see a few polls comparing real life friends. Few people voted on these polls and those that did left positive comments. In fact, most people commented on how both girls were pretty. Hopefully, this trend continues and teens stick to comparing items not friends.
This app is a marketer’s dream. Wishbone collects a lot of information from its young users and their friends. When kids sign up using their Facebook account, Wishbone accesses “account information, including information about your Facebook friends who might be common Facebook friends with other Wishbone users.” To keep the personal information collected at a minimum, teens should create a separate login and not sign up using their Facebook or Twitter profile.
What parents need to know about Wishbone
Rated 12+ – While most polls are mild, a few do have swearing. Even the curated feed has polls with inappropriate language. Although 90% of the comments are simply begging for followers, 10% have harsher language. Consequently, this is not a great app for young kids.
Ads and Notifications – Most of the complaints about this app are about the numerous ads and notifications. Every 15 or so questions, a video ad pops up. I do not find the ads as annoying as the notifications. This app pings all the time calling users to open it up and take a look.
Public Profiles – Wishbone does not have private accounts. All the information in their profile is public. Teens cannot choose who follows them. Anyone on Wishbone can follow them, see their profile and their polls.
Profiles from Facebook or Twitter – If they sign up using Twitter or Facebook, Wishbone uses their profile information to set up their Wishbone account. Kids should review and edit this information. Again, considering the amount of information Wishbone collects, teens should avoid signing up through a social network.
Direct Messages – Users can talk privately with each other. To send a private message, users must follow each other. If you follow someone and they follow you, you can exchange private polls and messages. Parents should talk to teens about choosing who they follow carefully.
Report inappropriate content – Wishbone provides several ways for users to manage their feeds. Teens can report an inappropriate poll by tapping on the 3 dots. Kids can delete comments made on their own wishbones by swiping left. They can also report a mean comment by tapping on it. If someone is bullying or harassing them, they can email Wishbone support at info@getWishboneapp.com.