Everything a Parent Needs to Know About HOT OR NOT
Teens are always comparing themselves to their peers, and some smartphone apps put those comparisons on full display. Hot or Not has risen in popularity among teens over the last few years. Just like its name sounds, this app is a shallow, dangerous environment for children of all ages.
What exactly is Hot or Not?
Launched in 2000, Hot or Not is a popular app where users can rate others on whether they’re physically attractive or not. Once an account is activated, new members must upload pictures of themselves that will be rated by others. Earlier versions of the app allowed users to give a numerical rating from 1-10 to judge a person’s attractiveness, however this has changed in the last few years. Now, users can browse through other members’ pictures and click on a heart icon to rate them as hot or a “x” to rate them as not. If two members find each other attractive, the app will automatically allow them to privately message each other.
There is also a location-based feature that allows users to see and rate other profiles of only people who are located nearby. Hot or Not allows users to search for other people nearby using filters such as education, body type and relationship status.
What will you find on Hot or Not?
Hot or Not is similarly designed to one of the biggest hook-up apps, Tinder. There is no question that users come to Hot or Not to meet other people and spark a romantic or sexual relationship. Once members have a mutual interest in each other and are connected to chat privately, the conversation can quickly turn inappropriate, since the assumption is that everyone who joins the app is there for a hook-up.
The Numbers Behind Hot or Not
- The app has over 300 million users.
- Although users must be 13 years old to register, there is no way for Hot or Not to verify this, so users of all ages can become members of Hot or Not.
- Users between the ages of 13-17 are kept apart from adult members. After a user turns 18, he or she can continue to talk to existing connections in the 13-17 year old age range, but cannot make any new ones.
Dangers Facing Teens on Hot or Not
Although Hot or Not claims to separate underage users from adults, there is no way to actually verify users’ ages, so it is impossible to guarantee that teens won’t come into contact with adults. Anyone can create a fake profile and register as a minor in order to gain access to the group of so-called protected teen users. Because of this, teens can easily fall victim to predators posing as teenagers. Once connected to each other, it becomes very easy for your teen to be exposed to explicit content through the app’s private messaging feature.
However, older predators are not the only ones that parents have to worry about. Teens can easily be matched on this app and engage in inappropriate conversations or photo exchanges. After all, a study in 2014 found that 54% of teens have sent or received sexually explicit texts or photos.
Safety concerns are amplified with Hot or Not because this is a location-based app, meaning people will be able to prey on teens knowing that are nearby. This could lead to predators who are posing as teenagers trying to arrange a location to meet in person.
The purpose of this app is to superficially judge the appearance of other users. It’s very likely that teens on this app could become upset about their Hot or Not rating and suffer from low self esteem as a result. Being judged unfavorably by their peers can lead to emotional stress, sadness and insecurity. Also, using this app could make your teen put too much of an emphasis on their outer appearance instead of focusing on who they are on the inside. Even the app’s website states that Hot or Not “will show you how popular you and your friends are.” This sends the wrong message to impressionable teens, putting too much weight on being popular and attractive to other people.
Remember to talk to your teens about which smartphone apps are appropriate for them to use. Hot or Not is definitely one that should not be downloaded on your teen’s phone. Be sure to talk to teens and help them understand that others’ opinions should not define their self-worth as Hot or Not implies, and direct them to more teen-friendly apps.