Fam: The Group Chat App Your Kid Loves and You Need to Know
Group texts are all the rage with tweens and teens. As parents, it’s super important to remember two things:
- Texting is social and the wisdom needed to be safe online should be taught to texters, too.
- If your kids love it, you need to know about it.
Fam is a new-ish group texting app that tweens are flocking to.
Giuseppe Stuto, 27, Frank Iudiciani, 23, and Kevin Flynn, 32, are the three co-founders behind the hot new live group video chat app, Fam.
“We were trying to think of solutions to build a home for these people who wanted to use it as a private group FaceTime feature,” Stuto said in an article in Fortune online.
Within two days, they had a working version of the Fam app. And within four days, they submitted the first version of Fam to the iMessage App Store. “Fam was literally a weekend project,” Stuto said in this same article.
That weekend project has taken a life of its own and exploded in popularity, particularly with 13- to 22-year-olds.
Fam is a big deal because users don’t have to venture outside of iMessage, Apple’s instant messaging service.
Fam lives in iMessage the way your GIF or Bitmoji keyboards do.
Once downloaded, Fam lets you start video chats with up to nine people at a time in your existing iMessage conversations without opening a separate application. (Because it runs through iMessage, it can only be used in conversations with other iPhone or iPad owners.)
You can see why kids might love this feature!
Not only is connecting with friends fun, it’s also psychologically good for your kids.
In an article in The Harvard Health Publication, it’s noted, “Scientists are investigating the biological and behavioral factors that account for the health benefits of connecting with others. For example, they've found that it helps relieve harmful levels of stress, which can adversely affect coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and the immune system. Another line of research suggests that caring behaviors trigger the release of stress-reducing hormones.”
We also know that connected kids are happier and safer; they’re more likely to ask for help when they need it.
So we absolutely WANT our kids to connect with their friends. And if they are doing so via group chats, there are a couple things for parents to note.
The two most important things to note about Fam is that it’s a group texting app and that it’s video based.
Group dynamics haven’t changed since we were little, group texts are just a new vehicle that they happen within. The good news is we can use what we know about group dynamics to teach our kids to be thoughtful group texters.
Takeaway: You can directly teach your kids to treat their friends in a group chat the exact same way that they would treat them in person.
Video apps are unique because “seeing” each other outside of school is wonderful for connecting and friendship boosting, something that we want our kids to be doing.
But video also adds an element of vulnerability to it.
Takeaway: You can directly teach your kids to only do on video what they’d be okay with anyone and everyone seeing. A really effective way to teach this is to get on FAM yourself and show your kids how easy it is to video the conversation on your own device and then share your video with others.
Group texting apps like Fam are not inherently bad, your kids just need to be taught how to use them safely and wisely. If your kids are showing an interest in texting or social media, I have an essential checklist for parents of new(ish) digital kids for you. You can get that checklist RIGHT HERE.
Galit Breen is the author of Kindness Wins, a simple, no-nonsense guide to teaching your kids how to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online courses Boom, Done Digital Parenting™ and Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. You can get her parents’ guide to their new(ish) digital kid RIGHT HERE.