When it comes to your child's online activities, understanding how they are keeping in touch with their friends is crucial. However, in many cases, there are so many different apps out there that it's not easy to understand which ones are safe for your child and which aren't. With this in mind, today, we're looking at some of the critical things you need to know about two of the most common messaging apps: GroupMe vs. WhatsApp.
Hopefully, this will help you understand more about the differences between these apps, including which is best for kids and how you can keep your child safe while using their mobile device.
Before we go any further, we should first outline what GroupMe and WhatsApp are. GroupMe and WhatsApp are trendy group messaging apps that allow your child to keep in touch with their friends and family members.
WhatsApp was founded in 2009 but was later acquired by Facebook in 2014. Meanwhile, GroupMe was launched only slightly later in 2010 and grew rapidly over the subsequent years; in fact, barely one year after its launch, it sold for around $85 million. However, of the two, WhatsApp has undeniably become the better-known option in the present day.
Both are distinct from normal texting functions on your child's mobile phone, although they still use your child's mobile number and an internet connection for contact. If your child is going somewhere unlikely to have an internet or mobile data connection, you might find that they cannot use GroupMe or WhatsApp.
GroupMe Vs. WhatsApp: Which Is Better for a Child?
When it comes to messaging, text messages can quickly become expensive if your child has been discussing with friends. With this in mind, free internet-based messaging apps like GroupMe and WhatsApp are clearly becoming increasingly popular solutions. However, before you allow your child to download either of these tools, it's worth considering that there are pros and cons to each that could influence which is most suitable for your needs.
First, let's consider the main features of WhatsApp and GroupMe. The most significant similarities between WhatsApp and GroupMe are that both apps are highly effective for free, internet-based communication between friends. Both systems are suitable for individual and group messaging alike. They allow their users to send messages and images alike; users can also send videos to their friends as needed.
Of course, as with any app, there are pros and cons to each of these apps overall. Perhaps the most apparent beneficial features of WhatsApp are the overall ease of use. WhatsApp allows users to easily message one another for free in private and group conversations. In addition, users can see when another WhatsApp user is typing a message and can similarly call their friends via WhatsApp for a more in-depth discussion.
Contrastingly, GroupMe is a little less powerful in private discussions, which might explain why it is commonly used more often for classes, friendship group chats, and office applications. However, one massively notable benefit of GroupMe is that it allows you to have discussions with people even if they do not have the GroupMe app; as such, it's more versatile than the WhatsApp tool.
However, when comparing WhatsApp vs. GroupMe, it is worth considering that GroupMe is less effective primarily for individual chats compared to group chats. Moreover, GroupMe limits the size of files sent to just 50MB, compared to a 100MP limit with WhatsApp.
At this point, it's essential to consider the suitability of each messaging app for kids. Generally speaking, both GroupMe and WhatsApp are effective for kids; the WhatsApp platform, in particular, is exceptionally versatile and intuitive for children to use. As such, so long as your child knows their phone number, they shouldn't have any difficulty with using the WhatsApp app. Meanwhile, GroupMe is kid-friendly with overall functionality and easy to set up and use for children.
Neither the WhatsApp app nor GroupMe is best suited for children. However, it's essential to consider that, while both are incredibly easy to use, GroupMe has more functionality – and not all of these options are necessarily child-friendly (as we'll consider in the next section).
Unfortunately, since the app is so easy to use, children can easily access the content you may not want them to view. As such, if you've been looking for a messaging app to help your little one keep in touch with their friends safely, it's well worth considering whether GroupMe is necessarily kid-friendly.
It's important to consider that, though both WhatsApp and GroupMe are easy for little ones to use, the latter may have several features that aren't as kid-friendly as others.
Indeed, the most significant issue with the GroupMe app from a potential dangers perspective is that users can easily search with Google, Bing, and the like directly within the app using the search bar. While this isn't necessarily explained at the outset, it's not hard for children to work it out – and this represents a challenge since the in-app search function does not respect your established controls as standards. Therefore, you might find that your child can access content that parental controls would usually restrict.
Security and Privacy
Regarding security and privacy, there's no room for error; after all, online messaging platforms can represent a significant risk for your little ones. It is crucial to consider as part of your overall decision. Fortunately, security is essential both for GroupMe and WhatsApp; however, WhatsApp excels here between the two.
WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption to help ensure that all data is fully secured and protected, which makes it impressive in terms of security. However, at this point, we should consider that Facebook now owns WhatsApp, and there have been previous reports and concerns about shared data between Facebook and WhatsApp. You may want to consider this when deciding which app you'd prefer your child to use, if either.
Still, GroupMe does not offer end-to-end encryption, so we have to say that WhatsApp could be more secure overall. However, GroupMe does commit to never sharing personal data or information from their users, providing a little extra confidence overall.
Reviews and Reputation
GroupMe and WhatsApp are highly praised for their power, functionality, and performance. As such, it isn't easy to compare the two overall. That said, GroupMe has achieved ratings of 4.5 stars on the Google Play Store and 4.7 stars on the App Store. Meanwhile, WhatsApp achieves average ratings of 4.3 stars and 4.7 stars, respectively, from a substantially larger pool of reviewers. With this in mind, it's fair to say that the two are comparable in terms of reputation. However, WhatsApp is the more widely used messaging app overall.
Finally, it's worth considering how the two apps perform in terms of price. You can use both WhatsApp and GroupMe entirely for free. However, GroupMe has the potential for optional extras, such as custom GIFs. By contrast, WhatsApp is accessible for people to use for private purposes, although business use may come with a paid subscription.
Keeping Your Kids Safe Online with AirDroid Parental Control
At this point, we've looked at some of the crucial features of GroupMe and WhatsApp. However, both apps come with potential risks for your kids, which is vital to consider to keep them safe. Luckily, if you want to keep your kids safe online while using GroupMe or WhatsApp, the AirDroid tool might be just what you need.
AirDroid Parental Control offers an additional solution to help keep your kids safe and secure overall. With AirDroid, you can control your child's online time using apps like GroupMe and WhatsApp. In addition, AirDroid allows you to monitor your child's texts for any risk of dangerous behaviors or bullying, allowing you to protect them from dangers that could arise online.
AirDroid is also one of the most affordable options for parental controls online, making it a prevalent choice of tool. So, regardless of whether you prefer WhatsApp or GroupMe, this is well worth considering.
Undoubtedly, many potential issues could arise with WhatsApp and GroupMe alike. Indeed, while we all like to hope our little ones will stay safe and well while using the internet for as long as possible, this is not always the case. As such, it's often crucial to ensure that you've got the most effective solutions to keep your kids safe – and the AirDroid tool might be just what you need. So, if you've been looking for a solution to keep your kids safe online, why not give it a try – you might be amazed at the difference it can make.
Elsa has worked on a number of iOS & Android solutions, she can always find her way around almost any application. She is an accomplished, skilled and versatile writer with more than 7 years of technical article writing experience.