The Brief: Boo! and Boomoji are social networking apps geared towards teenagers with customizable avatars, chat functions, forums, and games.
Boo! is a text and video messaging app. It dubs itself as a “next-gen messenger,” appealing to young people with its bright colors, gaming features, animations, and virtual mascots reminiscent of characters from Monster’s Inc.
The app is designed for people to chat directly with their IRL friends, who they can find by sending them a QR code.
An anonymous forum feature called “bottles” allows users to make anonymous posts or “messages in a bottle,” which others can “like” or respond to. Topics for these forums are reminiscent of the ones on the Amino app. They include “Crush,” “Video Games,” “Gossip,” “Advice,” and other teen-centric topics. One section called “Feedback” consists largely of selfies taken by young women and girls with requests for viewers to “rate” them. Boo! states that it has a strict policy against and ways to report hate speech, harassment, and other inappropriate content. However, upon opening the “Secrets” bottle, I quickly found posts with references to sex, incest, drugs, and self-harm, as well as racist comments.
Another feature allows users to select the school they attend so that they can get in touch with people from their school via the app. The app uses location data to allow users to choose from schools of all levels (even preschool). There is no verification needed to prove that someone actually goes to that school.
Similar to Bitmoji and Zepeto, Boomoji invites users to create personal avatars. Boomojis can then be superimposed into a number of visual scenarios which include stickers to use in Boo! messenger and photoshoots with multiple Boomojis.
Safety & Privacy
Like other social media and messaging apps, Boo! has risks involved, particularly in regards to messaging strangers and sharing personal information. It’s a good idea to use general internet safety and privacy practices.
According to the app store, Boo! is intended for ages 9 and up, but there is no age-verification required. As there is no maximum age, both adults and children can use the app and its social features.
Like many social media apps, Boo! and Boomoji collect a variety of personal information about users, which is laid out in their privacy policies.
Although users must have a code in order to chat with someone directly, it is common for people to post their codes on the public “bottles” forums, so they can then chat directly with interested strangers.