Hoop – Teens Connecting with Strangers

Hoop describes the user experience as being able to make new friends locally or all over the world. What exactly is Hoop? When creating an account for Hoop, you only need your age, gender, country, Snapchat username, and a profile picture (up to 5 pictures). Then, Hoop provides you with endless profiles to view. If you find a profile you like, you can request to exchange Snapchat usernames and begin chatting on Snapchat. If you do not like a profile, you pass. Requesting a user’s Snapchat username requires you to use “diamonds.” You can either earn diamonds by performing certain tasks, such as gaining a certain number of friends on Snapchat that were initiated through the Hoop app, or you can purchase more diamonds. Hoop has no chat capabilities – its only purpose is to find random people to add on Snapchat and “connect.”

What dangers does Hoop present? Starting at the age of 13, anybody can create a Hoop account. There are no parental control options and no option to have a private account. The purpose of the app is to connect with strangers. Hoop claims it will not match you with somebody outside of your age range. However, predators could open multiple accounts with varying ages to access teens of all ages. After a predator connects to a teen on Hoop, the predator will have access to the teen’s Snapchat username and will chat with them there. It is possible for predators to get a teen’s location information from Snapchat, depending on the user settings on the teen’s account.

Besides predation, there is a high likelihood that a Hoop user will encounter inappropriate content. Many profiles depict the users inappropriately clothed. Some profiles also subtly indicate the desire for sexual activity. Hoop claims to not allow nudity on a user’s profile; however, after connecting on Snapchat, any picture or video can be sent. Hoop also incorporates inappropriate ads into the user’s feed which must be watched before being allowed to look at more profiles. One example of this is an ad for a video call company that blurred out the nudity of a woman.

Hoop provides little to no positive value for a user. As the review from Bark states, “Any positive value kids could get from making friends on this app is outweighed by its inappropriate content and threat of predation.” Parents, look to see if you kids have this app and talk to them about the dangers it presents. 

For further reading about Hoop, consider the following reviews:

Protect Young Eyes: https://protectyoungeyes.com/apps/hoop-parental-controls/

Bark: https://www.bark.us/app-reviews/apps/hoop/

FamiSafe: https://famisafe.wondershare.com/app-review/hoop-snapchat-app-review.html