The Hot Or Not App | Who’s Rating Your Child?

Hot or Not App Overview

The Hot or Not app is a social networking app that encourages users to rate the attractiveness of other users based on their photos. Originally launched in the year 2000, the app previously enabled users to give photos a numerical rating between 1 and 10, however, in newer versions of the app, members instead respond to photos with either an ‘x’ or heart icon.

The Hot or Not App is little more than a social platform that focuses on objectifying or rejecting others, and it’s therefore no surprise that teenagers who use the Hot or Not app can end up with low self-esteem. Children using the app can also be subjected to cyberbullying, and may find themselves being sent sexually explicit images, or being pressured to send nude or revealing images of themselves.

Of major concern is the fact that, despite being strictly for people aged 13 and over, the Hot or Not app does not verify a user’s age. This means that there’s no way of guaranteeing that your teenager won’t be targeted by someone older than them. Furthermore, the app proudly promotes an inbuilt location tracking feature that enables members to locate other members who they have “bumped into” in a public place. While presumably intended for consenting adults who want to make contact with a passerby they happened to admire, it’s easy to see how this feature could be exploited by sexual predators.

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Features For Parental Caution

  • Access available to 13+

  • Recommended 17+ on App & Play Store

  • Contains InApp Purchases

  • Shares GPS location

  • Contains ads

  • Stores phone contacts and media

  • Requires permission to read and store MMS and SMS messages

  • Contains mild sexual content and nudity

  • Frequent suggestive/mature themes

  • No age verification process

  • Unmoderated in-app messages

What Parents Should Know About the Hot or Not App

On the Google Play Store, the tagline promoting the Hot or Not app is: “join the original game that lets you find and rate the hottest people near you”. The Hot or Not app actively encourages users to rate other users  as ‘hot’ or ‘not’ based on nothing more than their appearance and a brief bio; a concept that is deeply embedded in superficial and shallow ideologies. This is a dangerous precedent to set for early adolescent children, as it can lead to them having insecurities and body image issues, or going to extreme lengths to feel socially validated and popular.

Once a teenager creates an account, there really isn’t anything parents can monitor or control. The in-app messages between members are unmoderated, and allow for users to send photos back and forth. Also, with a lack of age verification, there is no guarantee that a member is the age that they claim to be, making it alarmingly easy for predators to disguise as being the same age as your child. Finally, instances of catfishing can be quite high, as creating an account only requires a Facebook profile and phone number.

How The Hot or Not App Works

“Hot or Not was the original way to check out people near you, but now it’s so much more. Find out where the coolest people are, wherever you are …and let them find you too! Hot or Not Lets You check out people in your area, find people you’ve bumped into, and chat with new people!” (Source: the App Store.)

Like a lot of other apps, new users can create a Hot or Not account by using their Facebook profile, which enables other members to link to their Facebook and social network of friends.

Parental Recommendations

Dating sites and apps are a proven and legitimate way for people to meet romantic interests within this digital age. However, the Hot or Not app is little more than a superficial hookup app that encourages objectification, making it both dangerous and inappropriate for adolescent children. We therefore rate this app as 18+.

Get Involved

If your teenager expresses an interest in downloading the Hot or Not app, you may want to treat it as an opportunity to have a discussion about online safety. The reality is that there will always be “an app”, and saying no to one app won’t prevent another one from quickly taking its place. The best way to ensure that your child is safe while using a social media app is to educate them about what to do in a dangerous or upsetting situation, and to ensure that they feel comfortable talking to you about any negative experiences that they have. You may want to open the discussion by…

  • Encouraging your child to think about what sort of information they think is safe to share online, and eliciting from them what sort of risks they think they may be predisposed to by sharing their private information or location

  • Asking them whether or not they’d be willing to rate other people as ‘hot’ or ‘not’ to their faces; and then asking them why it’s okay to do it as an online game

Finally, if you do allow your child use the Hot or Not app, we highly recommend maintaining regular communication about their online experiences, and monitoring their internet usage to ensure that you’re alerted to any risks. Wangle Family Insites’ innovative new app allows you to do this without spying on your child’s device, or breaching their privacy and trust.

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