What is Wizz? Wizz – Make New Friends (2019) is a friend-finding chat app in the social media category focused on connecting
strangers with common interests from all over the world. It allows users to find and meet new friends by scrolling through a live feed of other users to talk, and exchange pictures and videos; no option to use video calls.
Once two people agree to be friends, users can either freely directly message individuals or create a group chat where anyone can join them. User profiles, posts and bios are available for anyone to see.
Who is it suitable for?
The App store provides an age rating of 12+, whilst Wizz requires a minimum of 16+ for use.
Wizz gathers such data to put users of a similar age in the same feed. However, this is unreliable and misleading as the app has no authenticity or verification from its users to confirm their age or sex. This said, it allows users younger to create an account. Minors and adults frequently appear in the same space and can be connected if they accept each other’s friend requests. In turn, making it an unsafe virtual space for anyone under 18 years of age.
What are the potential dangers?
Whilst the app’s guidelines claim it prohibits sexual and violent content, it is evident that Group Chat conversations seem to directly violate their terms of service. The use of foul language is frequent and some users’ bio images are also sexually suggestive. The lack of censoring and the inability to use video calls can foster a perverse arena for catfishing and grooming between minors and adults or predators.
Users under the age of 18 have noticed these dangers and have commented that “The app is a hellhole for the spawns of maggots to slide into your DMs and attempt to swindle you for inappropriate things. Half the people I talk to on the app are catfishes and are not who they claim to be”.
Are there any parental controls available? There are no parental controls available on Wizz. This and the very nature of uncensored digital communication is extremely dangerous for teens as this can foster inappropriate communication through opportunities for catfishing and grooming between minors and adults.
Final word Parents must talk to their kids about the potential risks and dangers of posting personal information on Wizz and other social media apps in a way that empowers them. They need to feel safe speaking up and telling you what happened, so make sure your child knows that is always a safe space to speak up no matter the circumstances. Even if your kids do not use the app, it remains imperatively important to reinforce and teach appropriate and respectful communication and safely navigate such platforms.
Parents can discuss alternative social media apps that are more appropriate and safer for minors and explain the dangers for kids to interact with adults online and the risks of being friends with someone you’ve never met in person.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, GIGI:
I have just completed my HSC at school in Sydney. I hope to attend University where I aspire to study for a double degree in Property Economics and Business Law.
I wanted to participate in the committee to contribute a contemporary perspective on the safety of social media engagement and effective for young people.