Tango is a social networking app for phones and tablets that offers multiple ways to connect with friends and strangers via voice, video and messaging, group chats, games, phone calls, music, and news feeds. With its geo-location capabilities and high privacy risks, Tango carries a significant risk that young people will connect with strangers online, experience cyberbullying, or become victims of child grooming. Tango is not recommended for users younger than 16.
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Tango encourages users to connect with people using their phone’s contact list and strangers who use Tango, including friends of friends, strangers who live nearby, or strangers who are popular in their area. Any app that provides ways for users to talk to strangers can be dangerous, especially if the app combines this with geo-location services.
The most significant risk with Tango concerns privacy. If a young person leaves the app’s settings on default, strangers in the area may view their profile and personal information, exposing your child to a grooming risk. If a young person uses Tango, it is strongly recommended that their profile is switched to private to ensure only people on his or her contact list can view it.
Video calls are limited to one-to-one, but chats may include up to 300 people at once. Due to these chat functions, users are open to the risk of cyberbullying, particularly if their profile is not made private.
As well as video and phone call functionality, Tango includes a social news feed. As with any news feed where content is not moderated, this creates a risk that young people may view inappropriate photo or video content. In particular, the ‘popular people’ section may display content deemed inappropriate for ‘young eyes.’
While the core Tango app is free, the app presents opportunities to make in-app purchases in games, creating a risk that your child may make purchases without your knowledge.
Finally, with unregulated use, Tango may nurture unhealthy screen time habits with intrusive notifications urging users to continually check the app. For tweens and teens that do not understand how to practice restraint or balance, this can be detrimental to their well being.
To sign up, users must use their Facebook account or phone number and email address. There is no need to create a username or password, as Tango identifies you through your mobile phone number.
Once installed, the app searches your contact list for people who already use Tango and adds them automatically as contacts. You can also choose to invite non-Tango people to join you in using Tango.
When you first set up a Tango account, the default setting is public. If you do not set your profile to private, strangers in your area can see your profile and personal information and contact you. To set your profile to private, open your Tango profile page, select ‘Settings’ in the top right, select ‘profile public’ and uncheck the box to change your profile to private. We recommended that users also turn off geo-location services within their phone or tablet settings.
Once logged in, you have a variety of options. First, you can make video calls and phone calls to other Tango users. Second, Tango includes a social newsfeed where users can share photos and videos with their followers, and interact with updates from users they follow. Third, users can send and receive private or group messages, stickers, photos, videos and location messages. Fourth, users can live-stream videos and receive gifts from fans, which can be redeemed for cash.
To prevent unwanted contact from users, it is possible to block users. This will disable the user from sending messages and calling. To block a user, find their profile page, tap on the three-dot icon in the screen’s upper right corner, and select ‘block’.
Parents should consider the risks carefully before permitting their teen to use Tango. It is recommended that families discuss privacy, cyberbullying and sexting risks, and how to manage safety with apps that encourage connection with strangers.
Other discussion points may include: