Whisper App Overview
Whisper is a popular social confessional app designed for young adults aged over 18. Marketed as an online community where people anonymously share real thoughts, the app’s anonymity and strong sexual focus places users at higher risk of attracting sexual predators and cyberbullies.
Features for Parental Caution
- Completely anonymous
- Location tracking permissions required
- 17+ due to a high level of sexual content
- High sexting risk
- High chance of cyberbullying
- High risk of meeting strangers
- Moderate profanity and crude humour
- No parental controls
What Parents Should Know About The Whisper App
Whisper is free to download. Marketed as a social ‘confessional’ app, it encourages users to anonymously post ‘whispers’ that describe their personal thoughts, confessions, opinions or emotions. Confessional ‘whispers’ can range from humorous, strongly worded and sexual to potentially dark, disturbing or self-loathing.
Officially, the app asks users to confirm they are 17 or older before downloading. However, this rule is not strictly enforced and cases have been recorded of children as young as 12 circumnavigating the age restrictions.
Once a whisper is shared, Whisper users are free to interact with that whisper and connect with the confessor through private messaging, allowing for easy sharing of personal information and images. A whisper can indirectly reveal a user’s location, compromising safety and privacy. Therefore, teens using the app are at increased risk of grooming and sexual attacks from potential predators.
Finally, the Whisper app does not offer parental controls and cannot be monitored with conventional web filters, reducing safety and transparency.
How The Whisper App Works
After you sign up, the Whisper app will suggest an anonymous nickname and ask you to submit a pin to use for security. The Home tab showcases a grid of confession posts called ‘whispers’. Whispers can be browsed by topic, by nearby location, by popularity, and by time posted. For the ‘nearby location’ tab to work, users must let the app access their location.
To contribute to the community, users type into a blank field to share their confession. The user can opt to select an image suggested by the app or upload one of his or her own. Once published, anyone with the app can view and interact with this shared whisper.
To interact with a whisper, users have three options: heart, reply and direct message. The heart button shows appreciation, the reply button lets users share a whisper in response, and direct message allows users to contact the confessor privately.
If your teen shows interest in using Whisper, it’s best to help them thoroughly understand the risks. Ideally, no one under the age of 18 should use this app and even at this age meeting fellow users in person would be extremely high risk.
While Whisper provides an anonymous alternative to Facebook where users can share private thoughts without judgment from people they know, parents and users should be aware that the app is frequently used for hookups and content shared is often intended for adults only.
If your teen is using or would like to use Whisper, it is recommended that parents prioritise discussions on safety. You may also like to discuss:
- The importance of protecting your identity on so-called ‘anonymous apps’.
- Being extra cautious when interacting on such anonymous apps as you can never be sure whom you are interacting with.
- How perceived anonymity may impact users’ behaviour
- Whether users may exaggerate or spin the truth for ‘hearts’ on the Whisper app.