Calm Down Parents, Talking Angela App Isn’t After Your Children

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 11.14.00 AMConcerned parents are once again being duped by an Internet hoax regarding a harmless app for children – The Talking Angela app. Angela is a little French kitty that repeats what children say into the phone and interacts with children when they tap at the screen. It caused a panic on Facebook last year – and the panic has resurfaced:

WARNING FOR TO ALL PARENTS WITH CHILDREN THAT HAVE ANY ELECTRONIC DEVICES, EX: IPOD,TABLETS ETC …. THERE IS A SITE CALLED TALKING ANGELA, THIS SITE ASKS KIDS QUESTIONS LIKE: THERE NAMES, WHERE THEY GO TO SCHOOL AND ALSO TAKE PICTURES OF THEIR FACES BY PUSHING A HEART ON THE BOTTOM LEFT CORNER WITHOUT ANY NOTICES. PLEASE CHECK YOUR CHILDREN’S IPODS AND ALL TO MAKE SURE THEY DO NOT HAVE THIS APP !!! PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON TO YOUR FRIENDS

ATTENTION PARENTS & GRANDPARENTS! My future daughter-in-law just received this warning from a friend on her page. Do not let your child download the Talking Angela app! It is very creepy! Gracie downloaded it without asking to her kindle fire because it was free and a really cute cat. She brought it to me to answer the question it asked. I immediately noticed it had activated the camera. It had already asked her name, age, and knew she was in the living room! I immediately deleted it!

 

Snopes has since debunked these rumors. The app makers explain that the ”data collected by the app from the user is not shared with anyone and is actually sent to Out Fit7 only in the form of an anonymized data log,”  and that the app simply uses the phone’s microphone function to repeat what is said; it’s a chat bot. There is also a camera function that was part of the panic, but the app simply takes photographs and offers the option of posting to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media – much like Instagram and many other photo apps. The photos are not sent anywhere else. I’m confused as to why an app like this has to mine data at all – but I don’t know enough about app development to understand that.

The Guardian explains there is a “child mode” that the user can initiate which disables the “text chat” function that users were most concerned about. The concern that Angela asks kids for their names, ages and engages in banter via text is an option that can only be utilized if “child mode” is off. The problem is, turning child mode on and off is a simple toggle of screen switch that can easily be manipulated by a child.

So no, the app was not created by pedophiles to hunt your children. But if there is ever any concern over the safety of an app – either monitor your child very closely or don’t let them use it. I find it strange that an app that was clearly created for children has a social media-linking component at all. I can’t see someone old enough to be on social media even wanting to use this thing.

(photo: YouTube)

 

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    • LiteBrite

      This is why I keep Snopes on my bookmarks list. So whenever someone posts some “warning” on Facebook, I have a ready made link to send them.

      • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

        I started recently checking more things my friends post on fb against snopes. I’m actually surprised at just how many of the ‘amazing photos’ or ‘dire warnings’ or ‘omg I can’t believe our government is doing this’ stuff is completely fake, and people don’t even bother to check.

      • Bethany Ramos

        I am so irritated at FB propaganda and the MANY people that like and share, ie. the obviously photoshopped sign a sick kid is holding. Ugh.

      • SarahJesness

        My economics teacher in high school believed a ton of those things. Sometimes she would show them to the class and I’d be sooo disappointed that my fellow classmates believed it. (even the really ridiculous stuff like the rumor that Pepsi was using aborted fetuses in its drinks) One day while showing such a story I pointed out to her that said story was posted on a blog, not any kind of reputable news source, and she should dig around a little for some reliable confirmation on the story. She just got quiet and exited the page.

      • Tea

        My In-laws are now convinced Snopes is secretly heavily left leaning and suppresses/lies about actual issues. Send help.

      • Katherine Handcock

        I thought I was the only person who did that! I’m glad I’m not alone :-)

      • tiomela

        I lost a “friend” over fact checking. I fact checked and I pointed out to him when he was wrong and he’s like “it’s making me look like a moron when you do that”… and I was like seriously? All your friends think you are a moron for sharing that same crap that we checked on snopes 5 years ago, I was just trying to enlighten you… But no, you are a giant douche so enjoy your idiocy.

      • Surfaces

        Same, I can’t abide it when people just blindly accept whatever they read as true. Like when people thought posting a disclaimer meant FB couldn’t use their posts or pictures without their consent. That one was ridiculous.

    • Kay_Sue

      We used Ben the Talking Dog when my three year old was having trouble verbalizing (i.e., he didn’t want to do it). He’d talk to that thing for hours…and I have to admit, it’s still on my iPad and sometimes it’s fun to play with. #NotAshamed

      It’s surprising to me that we’re still so afraid of technology as parents. I consider it important to stay on top of it to the extent that I can, because some day, my kids will be using it (and my stepchildren are already starting to). Irrational fear of something just…isn’t productive.

      • SarahJesness

        I’m 20 and my dad has always been kind of old by dad standards, yet he’s always been good about technology stuff. I guess he’s a nerd or something, I dunno. Whatever, I’m not complaining, he brought digital cameras into the family BEFORE they were cool!

    • Crusty Socks

      What’s with the creepy toy articles on Mommyish lately?

      • Maria Guido

        I’m not sure. Maybe I should rent Child’s Play tonight to spare you from another one tomorrow, because clearly I am obsessed.

      • I’m completely serious

        If you’re taking requests, it’s been a while since you’ve posted an article that induced some good sanctimonious comment-rants from nutty pearl-clutchers. If you could get on that, I’d be super appreciative. What can I say? I think overly dramatic people having online freakouts are hysterical. Or maybe just start a column of hate mail; Eve once commented that her inbox was just full of crazy rants.

      • Bethany Ramos

        The hate mail column is SUCH a good idea.

      • Maria Guido

        I’m going to wrack my brain to think of something that will work up the pearl-clutchers into a frenzied mob.

    • Katherine Handcock

      THANK YOU! I’ve seen this silly thing posted by at least three FB friends so far, and it’s getting harder and harder to write a polite comment saying, “This is a hoax.”

    • Jamie-tang

      On a serious note guys… Gangs have started a new initiation where they bright light (or drive w/ no lights) to oncoming cars, and if you flash your lights at them, then they hunt you down and kill you. ALSO, dial 611 off your mobile phone and you automatically connect to the police. AND, don’t forget when you fill up your car to check the pumps for pins and sharp objects. People with HIV have been hiding them there.

      You’re welcome.

    • tSubh Dearg

      My future SIL refused to believe it was a hoax when I linked her to Snopes page. But her version of the warning was different saying that the app was asking the child to show her tongue or something and apparently local police were involved. Though I notice these bits are now included in the Snopes article but they weren’t when I originally linked her to it.

      I gave up trying to persuade her differently.

    • SarahJesness

      Social networking sites typically have rules saying you have to be 13 and up to join. (I’m pretty sure it’s like, the law to have this rule in place) So, yeah, mostly I’m just thinking that it’s weird to have an app aimed at small children that connects to social media.

    • Leah Booth

      Did u know that someone got took on taking angela