Chatting apps make it easy for teens to connect with friends and family. Using a chatting app may be cheaper than texting, typically comes with tons of features, and offers services if you're traveling internationally making it incredibly useful for teens. Not all chatting apps are geared towards teens. Chatting apps for teens often feature safety features and may even allow for parental control.
Chatting Apps for Middle School Aged Teens
Apps geared towards middle school aged teens will typically include more safety features which can be a relief to parents. Although, even with safety features it's important to be mindful of app usage and maturity level of the user.
Textfree can be downloaded for free on Apple and Android devices and works as a great alternative for anyone who doesn't have a cell phone but wants to text via their computer, laptop, or tablet. This app uses a lot of advertisements, but gives the ad free option for $5.99 a year. On this app:
- You can text for free
- Text without needing a cell phone
- Set up safety features so the user can only text with certain numbers
- Easy set up through Facebook, Google, or add your email address
Using Google Hangouts, users can video chat, send images, make calls, group chat, and text with friends. All you need is an email address to set up and your friend or family member's email address to add to your contacts. Parents can set up parental controls through the Family Link to monitor their child's activity and block unknown users from contacting their child. Google hangouts offers:
- Free texting, video chatting, group chats, and image sharing
- An easy way to connect with friends and family especially if you don't have a cell phone, or if texting is becoming too expensive
- A fun way to meet people through Google boards
- A private way to chat with friends and family members without being contacted by strangers, as long as the security settings are set properly
Chatting Apps for High School Aged Teens
For older teens who need an alternative way to connect with friends and family members, a chatting app can be a helpful tool to download on a phone or computer.
Viber is great app to use if you're traveling and want to stay in touch with friends and family members. Viber can be downloaded for free on Android and Apple devices and offers:
- Texting, video conferencing, and image sharing with sticker options
- Free usage for other Viber users and low cost options for international usage with wifi access
- Set up using a cell number or Facebook login
- Parental controls and safety features to prevent unknown contacts from connecting with users
This app is available on Apple and Android devices and is free to download. This is a great chatting app to use if you're interested in making new friends. Some users report glitches, but the developers noted that a recent update should tackle the majority of user complaints. You must be at least 17 years old to download Spotafriend. On this app you can:
- Swipe to meet friends
- Get matched to chat with teens who have similar interests
- Have access to over one million members around the world
- Chat in 22 different languages
WhatsApp is a free app that can be downloaded on Apple, Windows, and Android devices. Some phone plans may incur data charges, so be sure to check in with your cell phone plan provider prior to using the app. On this app:
- You can send videos, texts, images, and emojis for free
- Block and report inappropriate users
- Set privacy settings allowing you to only receive messages from approved friends and family members
- Sync chats to your computer so you can text using your laptop or tablet
- Chat with friends and family members internationally for free making it a great choice for travel
- Send documents and slideshows easily making it a great option if you're working on a group project
Safety While Using Chatting Apps
With any chatting app where you aren't speaking with people who you know and trust, it is always best to prioritize your safety. Be careful with over sharing and never give out your home address, credit card number, social security number, or other sensitive information. Be mindful of sending images and note that whatever you send can be put back on the internet forever. If someone ever makes you feel uncomfortable, you can block them or delete them. If you feel like someone is harassing you, contact the app's help site and report their behavior.
Finding the Right Chatting App
Whether you are looking for an app to use with your friends or meet new people in your area or around the world, there are plenty of chatting apps to choose from. Give a few apps a try until you find one that best suits your needs and have fun chatting with friends and meeting new people.