The use of chat apps makes it easier for teens to stay in touch with their friends and family. Chatting apps may be cheaper than texting, offer many features, and offer services if you’re traveling internationally, making them incredibly useful for teens.
Teenagers are not the only ones who use chatting apps. Teenage chat apps often include safety features and allow parents to control them.
Chatting Apps for Middle School Aged Teens
Middle school-age teens typically use apps with more safety features, which can be a relief for parents. Despite safety features, it is important to take into account the app’s usage and the user’s maturity level.
If you don’t have a cell phone but want to text from your computer, laptop, or tablet, Textfree can be downloaded for free on Apple and Android devices. There are a lot of advertisements in this app, but the ad-free option costs $5.99 per year. Here are the features of this app:
- There is no charge for texting
- You can text without a cell phone
- Make sure the user can only text certain numbers by setting up safety features
- Setup is easy through Facebook, Google, or by adding your email address
Using Google Hangouts, users can video chat, send images, make calls, group chat, and text with friends. All you need is an email address to set up and your friend or family member’s email address to add to your contacts.
Parents can set up parental controls through the Family Link to monitor their child’s activity and block unknown users from contacting their child. Google hangouts offers:
- Free texting, video chatting, group chats, and image sharing
- An easy way to connect with friends and family especially if you don’t have a cell phone, or if texting is becoming too expensive
- A fun way to meet people through Google boards
- A private way to chat with friends and family members without being contacted by strangers, as long as the security settings are set properly
Chatting Apps for High School Aged Teens
For older teens who need an alternative way to connect with friends and family members, a chatting app can be a helpful tool to download on a phone or computer.
Viber is great app to use if you’re traveling and want to stay in touch with friends and family members. Viber can be downloaded for free on Android and Apple devices and offers:
- Texting, video conferencing, and image sharing with sticker options
- Free usage for other Viber users and low cost options for international usage with wifi access
- Set up using a cell number or Facebook login
- Parental controls and safety features to prevent unknown contacts from connecting with users
This app is available on Apple and Android devices and is free to download. This is a great chatting app to use if you’re interested in making new friends. Some users report glitches, but the developers noted that a recent update should tackle the majority of user complaints. You must be at least 17 years old to download Spotafriend. On this app you can:
- Swipe to meet friends
- Get matched to chat with teens who have similar interests
- Have access to over one million members around the world
- Chat in 22 different languages
The WhatsApp app can be downloaded on Apple, Windows, and Android devices for free. Before using the app, check with your cell phone plan provider to see if you will incur data charges. The app offers the following features:
- Sending videos, texts, images, and emojis is free
- Report inappropriate users and block them
- Enable privacy settings so that only approved friends and family can send you messages
- You can text from your laptop or tablet by syncing chats with your computer
- Travelers can chat with friends and family members internationally for free
- When you’re working on a group project, you can easily send documents and slideshows
Safety While Using Chatting Apps
Any chatting app where you aren’t speaking with people you know and trust is always best to prioritize your safety. Don’t overshare your home address, credit card number, social security number, or any other sensitive information.
Be careful when sending images and remember that anything you send can end up on the internet forever. Whenever someone makes you feel uncomfortable, you can block or delete them. Report harassment to the app’s help site if you feel someone is harassing you.
Finding the Right Chatting App
There are plenty of chatting apps available to choose from, whether you want to chat with your friends or meet new people around the world. Try out a few apps until you find one that suits your needs and have fun meeting new people and chatting with friends.