Is Likee Safe for Kids or Should You Be Concerned About It?
Often hailed as TikTok’s younger sibling, Likee is a fresh face in the short-video creation and sharing field. The app has over 500 million downloads on Google Play Store only and is especially popular among сhildren. It’s supposed to be a fun video platform, where users get creative, share their videos, and get in touch with others. What’s not to likee if your kid uses it? Well, tons of things. Read along to find out whether this app is safe for youngsters.
But hold up, let’s first learn more what Likee is about.
What is Likee?
Likee (formerly LIKE) is a Singapore-based popular global platform for creating and sharing short videos with special effects and filters. The app has a large user base and is available for both Android and iOS operating systems. Users can add stickers, filters, music and more to their video. The app promises quick access to interesting content due to their smart recommendation technology you’re “bound to love.” On top of that, Likee has in-app purchases, which lets you send gifts to other users — kind of a “reward” for the content you upload. Users can exchange these gifts for real-life currency.
So, in theory, Likee is a cool video-sharing platform that lets you browse videos, upload your own, and contact other users based on shared interests. But the reality is quite different.
Is the Likee app safe?
Without further ado, no. Likee is a privacy nightmare with over-abundance of explicit content, weak parental control options, and no effective moderating practices. There, young users are exposed to adult content and are put in direct contact with strangers. Let’s find out more.
Likee app safety: Main problems
1. Age restrictions
“Likee does not intend to create account for users who are under the age of 16 years old or other age of majority as required by the laws of the country of your domicile or 18 if you use our live streaming services. So please do not use Likee and Likee Services if you are under such age requirement.”
Besides, Likee set separate “age gates” depending on the country you live in. They are supposedly applied in the parental control mode.
But let’s set those age restrictions aside. The thing is that you don’t even need to create a profile or enter your birthdate to begin browsing on Likee — the homepage on both the desktop and mobile versions shows the most popular videos in your location (which may be inappropriate, to say the least — stay tuned for more info).
2. Privacy settings
Unlike with other social platforms, like TikTok and Instagram, a user can’t make their Likee account private. That said, young children can easily sign up, come across strangers, and start interacting with them right away, whether in comments or direct messages. Moreover, location sharing is automatically enabled. This means anyone can see what you decide to post and where you are.
Here is how default privacy settings look like:
So, anyone can message you, comment on your posts, take screenshots or screen record your content, and share anyone’s content via messengers and social media without any restrictions. And with many kids using this platform, this is a total red flag.
3. Weak parental controls
Likee does have the parental control option, yes. But its reliability is another topic for discussion. The app claims that turning on this feature removes inappropriate content and disables private messaging and cash withdrawals. Parents have to set a passcode and change it every week to keep their child away from playing with the settings.
We’ve created an account and enabled parental control to see if there will be any difference. While the feed did have less inappropriate content, some of it still managed to slip. To be sure — no sensible parent would have approved of what content popped up.
What are the dangers of Likee for kids?
To truly get what the app is about, we had to see for ourselves. While we’ve signed up to check out the app’s privacy settings, checking if the platform had any inappropriate content and other dangers for kids didn’t even take creating an account. After all, you can browse the feed without a profile. A few steps were needed to go to the feed right away — choosing a gender, age (we “passed” as a 10-year-old kid, and Likee didn’t say anything about age restriction), and preferences (travel, pets, sport, and so on). Pretty harmful, right? Well, no.
Inappropriate and harmful content
Suggestive language and sexualized content are all over the app — for one innocent dance trend, you’ll find yourself swiping through a landslide of inappropriate content created by users. In our testing, we came across the following only within the first few minutes of use (remember, we’re supposed to be a 10-year-old child!):
- Overtly sexual imagery
- Excessive swearing
- Videos of minors engaging in suggestive acts
- Insulting and vile comments on videos of minors
What happens when browsing Likee becomes a regular thing to your child? The lesser of two evils is that they will get immune to it and won’t even realize that such content is bad.
But that’s not all. Users can search by hashtag and filter by gender (a dating app vibe, anyone?) This puts underage girls and boys at a high risk of grooming and being exposed to harmful content. And we all know, evil people use the Internet, too.
Easy contact with strangers
An estimated 500,000 online predators are active each day. They are flocking to social media platforms that are popular among kids and teens. And Likee makes it exceptionally easy to get in contact with (creepy) strangers:
- The app doesn’t seem to have any moderators working to regulate creeps that are sneaking around.
- Since it’s impossible to make your Likee account private, any user is exposed to people they don’t know in real life.
For kids, the need for validation and the desire to gain followers won’t make them think twice to add strangers to their contact lists. This can result in many dangers — from sexual exploitation to phishing or malware scams.
Overall, comments from parents on American review website Common Sense point to all kinds of problems with the app. One called Likee a “pedo playground full of groomers.” One mum also said:
“I just spent the last five hours at the police station after discovering that my minor child had been harassed by some freak pervert and manipulated in to taking nude photos of herself and sending them to him. She’s 10.”
As you’re scrolling through Likee, there are tons of videos with young girls. Since they are naive because of their age, they can sometimes add suggestive thumbnails to their videos. Of course, these girls are clueless to the dark side of the Internet, and they should never even have to be made aware of it. But sadly, when you look at the comment section, some disgusting messages make that dark side shine through.
But that’s not all.
Set up as a popularity contest, Likee offers in-app purchases and has a giving/receiving feature that lets users exchange real money for virtual gifts or “Diamonds/Beans” — the exchange rate is currently $1.00 for 210 Beans. This creates pathways for grooming and extortion. And the prospect of making some money is surely enticing to kids on the app.
Besides, Likee has a “level up” system — the more you share videos, the more people start to follow. The more followers you have, the more Diamonds you send and receive, and the more chances you’ll go viral. Teens are easily tempted by this and may not realize the potential consequences of what content they post. After all, one of the biggest incentives behind Likee is its slogan “Let You Shine.”
All things considered, you might not want to let your kid shine on this platform. But if your teen insists on using it and there’s nothing you can do about it, make sure you improve the safety settings before you let them use the app.
How to optimize Likee’s privacy settings
This is the least you should do if your child uses Likee. Go to Settings > Privacy and set these safety settings:
Disabling messaging altogether may seem harsh in the Who Can Message Me section. But to cut out the possibility of strangers with bad intentions messaging your child (when they already follow them), it’s probably the best option.
Note: Remember that all profiles on Likee are public, and there’s no way to make them private.
How to delete Likee account
Want to remove the danger completely? Here’s what you need to do to delete a Likee account:
- Go to Settings > Account.
- Click on Delete Account.
- Go through an overview of the “Terms of Account Deletion.”
- Click Continue.
- Confirm you have read and accepted the Likee Account Deletion Agreement. You will then see a notification that your account will be deleted within a week.
- Click Confirm Deletion.
Make sure to check whether the account will really be deleted in a week. If not, you contact customer support.
When it comes to a kid-friendly social media platform, Likee is a hard pass — we wouldn’t recommend it for users under 18. Let’s recap:
- The Likee feed is filled with swearing, sexually explicit and violent content, and inappropriate references.
- Parental controls are ineffective.
- There is no private profile.
- Users can filter a search by gender.
- Online predators can easily target kids with vile comments and messages.
- Likee offers financial incentives to kids who can post risky content in hopes of winning a virtual popularity contest. All in front of an audience looming with predators.
So yeah, it’d be better to let your kids shine somewhere else.
If your kid has been using Likee for some time, where suggestive content abounds, they may see inappropriate targeted ads popping up on their screen from time to time. In this case, it’s better to use a reliable VPN like VeePN with an ad blocker feature. It will prevent online tracking and make your browsing experience safer.
Disclaimer: This article is in no way an instrument of any advertisement practice. It is exclusively intended to bring parents’ attention to the issues connected with their kids’ safety while accessing an app such as Likee. The article is grounded on the generally known and freely accessible information that was verified by our experts.
Is Likee kid-friendly?
No, Likee isn’t a safe app for children. There is no age verification, and Likee’s feed is swarming with inappropriate and suggestive content. Besides, strangers with bad intentions can easily contact your kids since you can’t make your Likee account private. Learn more in this article.
Does Likee have a kids mode?
Technically, yes, but it’s called Parental Controls. The app says this option will filter out any inappropriate content and disable private messaging and cash withdrawals for paid items. A parent also needs to set a password to prevent their kid from switching back to normal mode. But our testing showed this feature to be ineffective. Find out more in our article.
Is Likee safer than TikTok?
No, unlike TikTok, you can’t make your account private, meaning any strangers can see your profile and message you or send you vile comments. Read along to find out more.