HOUSEPARTY: HOW TO HAVE FUN AND STAY SAFE_
By Katherine Hannah, Mentoring Youth Facilitator & Hannah Snow, Anti-Bullying Training Coordinator
Are you ready to Houseparty? If you are, you must be one of the millions of people who have downloaded the app in the past few weeks!
Here are some of our top tips to have fun and stay in control when using the app.
8 April 2020
Are you ready to Houseparty? If you are, you must be one of the millions of people who have downloaded the app in the past few weeks! Its ability to instantly connect via video to multiple friends and family has provided a lifeline for many, ensuring social distancing does not have to mean the end for social interaction. With options to play Trivia Quizzes, Pictionary and much more, what’s not to love?
However, just like with any online activity, it’s important to be aware of how you feel when using the app: do you feel happy, excited and positive? Or do you feel anxious, worried or upset?
Below are some of our top tips for simple ways you can have fun and stay in control when using Houseparty:
- Set a time limit
Think about planning how long you are going to spend on Houseparty each week. Try to arrange calls with friends in advance – just like you would if you were meeting friends in person.
- Balance time spent online with an offline activity
This could be painting, baking, doing a puzzle or something active like going for a short walk or run outside (if it is safe to do so).
- Only add people who are your friends
It’s important to only interact with people you know and trust. Don’t give out personal information to people who you don’t know.
- Turn off notifications
Houseparty can quickly swamp your phone with notifications every time a new friend has joined the app, come online or sent you a new request. By turning off notifications, you will feel more in control by selecting when you choose to open the app. You also won’t be tempted to go on the app when you’re spending time offline.
HOW CAN I DO THIS?
- Open the app – you’ll see your beautiful face! Click on the smiley face icon, then on ‘manage notifications’.
- Muting – If you don’t want to receive notifications saying that your friends are using the app, use the muting function. Simply make sure the ‘Get My Friends’ Notifications’ slider is turned off.
- Ghosting/Sneaking into the House – If you don’t want your friends to know when you open the app, simply make sure that the ‘Send Out My Notifications’ slider is turned off. If you want, you can adjust these settings to be applied to specific people rather than everyone.
- Take the conversation with your friend offline
If you feel like a friend is acting strangely or has upset you on Houseparty, often the best thing to do is to chat to them about it privately by taking your conversation off Houseparty. This is also true for many other apps. Try calling, messaging or facetiming them directly instead – with just the two of you talking, you should be able to have a more honest and open conversation. Remember, you can always stop a conversation with a friend on Houseparty at any point if you start to feel upset, uncomfortable or unsafe.
- Lock your room!
We don’t mean your physical room – the room on Houseparty! We recommend using Private Mode when using the app – this means that every room you’re in will be locked as default, even when you’re alone. This can be done easily by clicking on the smiley face icon and then on the cog on the left-hand side. Simply click on Private Mode to enable it. Remember, you have the power at any time to lock a room (which means that if people want to join the chat, they have to be invited in), turn off your camera, microphone, leave a room or shut the app entirely if you do not feel comfortable.
- Reporting and blocking is easy
If you need to report someone’s conduct on the app or block someone, simply click on the smiley face and then ‘My Friends’. If you click on the 3 dots to the right of a friend’s name, you can ‘Unfriend’ or ‘Block/Report’. Remember, you’re in control!
- A problem shared is a problem halved
Talk to a parent or other trusted adult if you are feeling anxious, are concerned about a friend on the app or have seen or heard something which you find worrying. If you don’t feel able to talk to a trusted adult, you can use our Crisis Messenger service. The Diana Award Crisis Messenger provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you are a young person in crisis, you can text DA to 85258.
We hope you’ve found our top tips helpful and remember to have fun and stay in control when using Houseparty.