Monkey, also known as Monkey.Cool, is a free social networking app and website that randomly connects people with other users on the platform for a brief 15-second video call. The platform uses participants’ Snapchat usernames and mobile numbers to connect to the service and to make matches. Participants have the option to extend a video chat, as well as join group chats. It is currently only available as an app on Android devices, but the website can be accessed through all devices. Users can use Monkey with or without an account. If a user chooses to create an account by using the app, they must provide a name and a date of birth over 18, however no proof of age is required. When users are matched with each other, Monkey tells each person the location and gender of the other and for those who have an account, their username will also be shared. All interactions on Monkey are made via live video and (although it is prohibited by community guidelines) there are reports of a considerable amount of sexually explicit content shared on the platform.

The official age rating for Monkey is 18, however it does not have any rigorous age verification methods.

Google Play rates Monkey as suitable for teens.

Monkey encourages its users to keep ‘Monkey safe’ and report any users who they suspect are under 18 by using the ‘Underage reporting’ option.

Users do not need to register or set up an account to use the Monkey website in a browser so there is limited opportunity to apply privacy settings or parental controls. 

Find out more about age ratings in our ‘A parent and carer’s guide to age ratings of apps and games’.

The simplicity of Monkey makes it very appealing to children and young people, even the logo is very child-friendly. Monkey markets itself as "an alternative to Omegle, with a TikTok vibe". Users are able to get in touch with people from around the world at random to meet and interact online. This is especially appealing for those who are looking for online friendships or wish to roleplay as someone different online.

  • This is where you chat with one other person. Initially video calls only last for 15-seconds, but clicking on the clock icon can extend these calls.

  • This is where you can invite a friend to chat with you and others.

  • When individuals have finished chatting to the person they have been matched to, they can click ‘Next’ to move onto a new person.

  • This feature allows you to instantly contact someone and have a one-to-one chat with them.

  • This function is in the top right corner of the other person’s video. When you report someone, your conversation ends straight away. 

  • This is a paid-for subscription that allows "unlimited access to your preferred gender and to make new friends easier and faster".   

  • A currency used to make in-app purchases.

  • Users can swipe through ‘Cards’ to add and direct message new friends. If users really like another user they can ‘super like’ them.

  • Users can post images on their profile that other users on the platform can see.

  • This ‘hit me up’ mode notifies contacts that the user is online and available for ‘knock-knocks’.

As Monkey has an adult age rating, there is a lot of mature content. Many users on Monkey use explicit and sexual language and the sharing of sexual content appears relatively common. Some users have been reported to display harmful content and quickly select ‘Next’, making the other user upset or uncomfortable and with little time to report it. Whilst Monkey has a set of community standards it expects users to adhere to, it also relies on users self-governing and reporting inappropriate content in order for their moderation team to review it. This means that moderation across the platform can be limited. It is not recommended that young people under 18 access the platform, but parents and carers should be aware that the lack of age verification means a child under 18 could easily access the platform. If your child should access the app, encourage them to speak to you if they encounter any content they find upsetting or disturbing.  Talk to your child about the dangers of sharing nudes or semi-nudes online and remind them that any sexualised images containing children under 18 is considered child sexual abuse material.

Monkey comes with extensive risks for connecting with others. The randomised way that the site pairs users to live video chat with each other means you have no way of knowing who you will be connected with. As you don’t need an account to chat, it can be difficult to trace who you have been chatting to. As Monkey has an adult age rating, it is strongly advised that children and young people do not access this app.

The ease with which users can start and exit a chat on Monkey can make it feel fun, fluid and ‘in the moment’ in a way that can make users less conscious of the risks.  Unfortunately, those seeking to exploit young people can take advantage of the open nature of apps and sites like this to make direct contact with them.  Users should be careful about who they meet online and report anyone who makes them uncomfortable.  They should also be careful about what they share and bear in mind that all content can be screenshotted, saved and shared further.

Monkey states there is a zero-tolerance policy for any content that is classed as bullying, discriminatory or inappropriate, including sexual or violent content. However, the frequency with which this type of content is found on the app suggests that the community guidelines are not rigorously upheld. The best way to avoid your child being exposed to any harmful content on the platform is by not allowing access to the app or website.  

The design of this app is very simple and easy to use. The short form that each chat can take and the simple use of ‘Next’ to move onto the next person, can also make Monkey very engaging. Users may find it difficult to exit the app, instead choosing to have just one more conversation. Users should be made aware of the risks of compulsive use and encouraged to take time out from the app.

There are frequent opportunities to make in-app purchases or upgrades within Monkey. Users on the platform are invited to subscribe to Monkey Plus, which is marketed as a friend-making service. There is also the option to buy gems or coins which are the in-app currency.  All of these options may be interesting to younger users, so it is not recommended that children access this platform.

  • As Monkey has an adult age rating, there are very few safety controls and settings available.

    There is no way to avoid sharing your location when using Monkey or to turn your camera off. The app and site require you to allow access to your device’s location and camera before you can continue.

    Explore the parental controls on your individual devices and broadband service, which may allow you to put filters and blocks in place.

  • As Monkey can be used as a website and not just as an app, many users do not need to set up an account. If a user has an account, there are limited settings such as disabling the ‘Knock-knock’ feature and hiding your online status.

    Explore the parental controls on your individual devices and broadband service, which may allow you to put filters and blocks in place.

  • Users can report and block other users who may be bothering them or behaving inappropriately on the platform.

    To report or block a user:

    • Find the user you wish to report and tap the three-star icon in the corner of their profile page.
    • Select ‘Report’ or ‘Block’.
    • Note: users with an account can also report and block another user’s profile. They will be asked to select a reason from one of the following:
    • Underage
    • Inappropriate content
    • Spam
    • No Reason

    To report or block someone from ‘Moments’:

    • Tap the three-star icon at the top of the post.
    • Select ‘Report’ or Block’.
    • Choose the reason why you are reporting this user or content.
  • For those using the app with an account, Monkey has lots of opportunities to make in-app purchases, such as upgrading to ‘Monkey Plus’, which allows users to have an unlimited choice of which gender they speak to and claims they can make friends quicker and easier. Explore the parental controls on your individual devices and broadband service, so that your child does not have easy access to your or their bank accounts. 

It is crucial that parents and carers understand that Monkey connects users with strangers of any age and that it is not suitable for users under 18.

Talk to children and young people about why they want to use it and explain what the risks are, so they are prepared in case something goes wrong. Keep channels of communication open so they can come and speak to you if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable.