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Monkey

Monkey Web, also known as Monkey, is a free social networking app and website where users are connected at random to chat via live video. 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, 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.

Official age rating

The Monkey website states users must be 18, however, it does not have any rigorous age verification methods.

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 App, 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.

How children and young people use the app

The simplicity of the Monkey app makes it very appealing to children and young people. 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 app is especially appealing for those who perhaps don’t have as many friends in person or wish to roleplay as someone different online.

Potential risks

Content

As Monkey has an adult age rating, mature content is to be expected. 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. Whilst Monkey has a set of community standards it expects users to adhere to, it relies on users reporting inappropriate content in order for their moderation team to review it. This means that moderation across the platform is very limited. It is not recommended that young people under 18 access the platform., Encourage users  to speak to you if they encounter any content they find upsetting or disturbing.  Users should be aware of the dangers of sharing nudes or semi-nudes online. It is important to remember that any sexualised images containing children under 18 is considered child sexual abuse material.

Connecting with others

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.

User behaviour

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.  Usersshould 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.

Design, data and costs

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.


Tips for keeping your child safe

  • 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.

  • As Monkey can be used as a desktop 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 allow you to put filters and blocks in place.

  • You can report and block users who may be bothering you or behaving inappropriately on the platform.

    To report a user:

    • When in a chat, select the icon in the corner of the other user’s video.]
    • They will then disappear from your screen and your conversation is ended.
    • Note: the person you report will be notified that they have been reported.

    Users with an account can also report and block another user’s profile. They will be asked what was appropriate from the following:

    • Underage
    • Inappropriate content
    • Spam
    • No Reason
  • 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.


Key features and terminology

  • Solo

    This is where you chat with one other person.

    Duo

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

    Next

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

    Knock-Knock

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

    Report

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

    Monkey Plus

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

    Coin

    A currency used to make in-app purchases.

General tips

Encourage your child to set up their own games as host and only play with people they know. It is recommended you check with them who is in their friends lists.

If they are playing publicly, make sure your child keeps their information private and consider setting controls on the chat function to help keep them safe.