Image: Phil Woolf
What is ooVoo?
ooVoo is a video chat app: it lets you make video calls, voice calls and send texts. To register, you can either set up an account on the app directly or sign up using an existing Facebook account. It's free to download and is compatible with most devices, including Amazon Fire Phone, Android Smartphone, Android Tablet, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, Windows Phone and PC.
ooVoo allows users to communicate with up to 12 people at a time in a group video chat. Like other video chat services, it is popular with young people who have hearing impairments, as it allows them to talk to others face-to-face.
Privacy settings let you decide if you want to talk only to your friends or with people you don’t know.
Does ooVoo have age restrictions?
Like many other sites, apps and games (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram) ooVoo’s Ts&Cs specify that it is for over 13s only. This minimum age is due to American privacy legislation, which states that websites collecting information from children must first get permission from their parents. Many popular websites set 13 as an age limit so they don't have to comply with this legislation.
If under 13s use ooVoo in the UK, it’s a violation of the site’s terms and conditions, but it is not illegal.
Should I be concerned about ooVoo?
Like many other sites and apps, ooVoo is used by both adults and children. This means that children can be directly contacted by an adult they don’t know. Activity on services such as ooVoo is often adult in nature. Users may be on ooVoo to start up sexual conversation or activity on camera with other users.
Ultimately, the decision as to whether or not a child under 13 is on ooVoo and similar sites lies with the child’s parent or carer.
CEOP recommends that sites such as ooVoo should only be used by young people aged over 13 who have set their privacy settings to allow contact only with people they know and trust in the real world. See below for detailed instructions for choosing privacy settings.
Talking to your child about ooVoo
If you do decide to let your child use ooVoo, make sure you have ongoing conversations with them about how they are using this and other services. Ask them what it is they like about the service and whether they think there are any risks, and show them that you are listening to what they tell you. Give them clear, age-appropriate advice on what the risks might be, and explain how they can use privacy settings to stay safe while having fun.
Stay involved as your child uses the site, and make sure you know who they are interacting with online.
Reassure your child that they can always come to you for help. Tell them that if anything ever happens that worries them, it is not their fault, and they should tell you, so you can help them.
For more advice on how to keep your child safe online and help with age-appropriate conversations, visit CEOP’s Parents and Carers website at www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents.
How do privacy settings work on ooVoo?
The privacy settings can be found by clicking ooVoo> Settings> Privacy (PC) or ooVoo> preferences> privacy (Mac) in the main user interface. There are three options for determining who can find you on ooVoo.
- The default setting is for anyone to be able to find and view a registered user’s ooVoo profile.
- The second is for only those who know your e-mail address or ooVoo ID to be able to find you.
- The third option is to make yourself unsearchable to everybody. Other privacy options are limited to displaying birthday and the gender of a user.
The privacy settings can be found by tapping the drawer icon from your Friends screen in the corner. Then tap on Privacy & Security.
iOS users should tap your profile photo and then tap settings>privacy & security.
How do I know who is friends with me on ooVoo?
ooVoo allows you to see who is on your friends list in the main interface. This is separated into those friends who are online and those who are offline.
Sit down with your child and together look at their friends lists. Ask the following questions: How do you know them? How often do you speak to them? And what do you tell them about yourself? Suggest that if they don’t know them in the real world, they should remove them. It’s far safer to only be friends online with people they know and trust in the real world.
If they still wish to be friends with people they don’t know, advise them to limit what they share with them. They should never share personal information which identifies them or any images and videos they wouldn’t share with you.
How do I report a user to ooVoo?
To report a user, click on the small arrow next to their name in your friends list and a menu list will appear. Click more at the bottom of this list and then click on report abuse. You will be asked to give a reason for your report: ‘Sexual Harassment’, ‘Hate speech, threats, bullying or violence’, or ‘This person may harm themselves’.
Hold the Ctrl key and click the mouse pad. In the list which appears, click on report abuse and follow the steps above.
You can report via a mobile device using the ooVoo website at http://support.oovoo.com/ics/support/KBAnswer.asp?questionID=1356&hitOffset=92+16+8+5&docID=5156.
How do I block someone on ooVoo?
It is possible to block a user from contacting you on ooVoo. This will make you ‘appear offline’ to them on their contact list. They will not be able to contact you and they won’t know that you have blocked them.
PC and Mac
Click on the small arrow next to their name in your friends list and a menu list will appear. Click more at the bottom of this list and then click on block contact.
Swipe right on a friends name in your contact list and tap Block. Tap Block and Remove to remove them from your friend list.
Tap and hold on a contact and it will highlight red.
To block a person, tap the Block icon and then tap Block. They will not be able to contact you again. Select the Block and Remove option to remove them from your friend list.
Is ooVoo free?
ooVoo is free to use for video calls and send text messages. There is also a ‘paid-for’ version called ooVoo Premium which removes advertising from the service.
How can I disable my ooVoo account?
Once you have registered for an account with ooVoo there is no way to delete your account permanently. However, you are able to make yourself ‘unsearchable’ by other users who wish to find you.
PC and Mac
In order to make yourself unsearchable, go to ooVoo>settings>privacy (PC) or ooVoo>Preferences> Privacy (Mac) and change the search profile setting to “No one”. You will then need to go to ooVoo>settings>Notifications and uncheck the boxes to receive e-mails. Finally, you should uninstall ooVoo from your computer.
iOS and Android
Tap on your Display Name and type “closed”. Then tap on your profile photo and tap Settings. Tap Privacy & Security and change your search preferences to No one. Finally, tap on your profile photo again and remove your photo. You can then delete the ooVoo app from your device.
For more information, advice and support with keeping your child safe online, visit the CEOP parents and carers website - www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents.