Is The Spayce App Safe For Teens

We were testing out the new Spayce app after it launched last month in preparation to write a review for parents, and then we got sidetracked. Let us explain.

spayce-app-logoIf you’re not yet familiar with it, the Space app works like a combination of Instagram and Yik Yak. Users can post photos or videos of what is happening around them, and other users within a certain radius can view those images to see what’s going on. Users can also use the “Local” feature to see what is happening in another area.

Unlike Yik Yak, users are not anonymous, until they amass enough “Likes”. From the Spayce website:

“And if you earn enough stars on Spayce by making quality memories, you will unlock the ability to leave anonymous memories in places.”

We’re not sure what that means.

Since Spayce’s feed focuses on specific locations as well as a group of friends, our initial concern was that it could become a hit at high schools, in the same way that Yik Yak has. Because of the fact that it’s anonymous, Yik Yak has attracted a lot of bad actors. We wondered whether the same fate might befall Spayce.

Specifically, since teens are welcome on Spayce (the stated age limit is 13), we would like to see a number of things prohibited, such as nudity and sexual content, cyberbullying and harassment and all illegal activity such as drug and weapon references.

The app’s Terms of Service is not clear exactly what is prohibited, and we tweeted the following:

The following exchange then occurred: spayce-app
They reached out via email and I exchanged a couple of emails with a company representative. The last email I sent was the following:

“In your tweets over the weekend, you mentioned that, “We don’t allow this type of content” when I asked about nudity/sexual content. You also said that, “We monitor content and will remove it when we find it”

I read the TOS and as far as I could see, the only content that is explicitly banned is harassment and stuff that is illegal. Maybe I missed it.

My questions:

1 How exactly do you monitor content – human monitors or software?
2 Is all nudity and sexual content banned?
3 Does this ban refer to images only, or images and text.
4 What about drug and alcohol references, firearms etc.?
Thanks in advance.”

That was March 17th and we haven’t heard back.

The Spayce app looks like fun and hopefully they’re working on a set of Community Guidelines that give a clearer picture of what is and isn’t permitted, and how the company intends to monitor unsafe or inappropriate content and conduct as they state that they will. We’d also like to see them ditch the anonymous user feature.

Until that happens, we recommend that parents keep impressionable teens off of the Spayce app.

 

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