Noplace: What Parents Need to Know About the New Gen Z Social Media App

Words by
Jake Cutler

JUL 09, 2024

Noplace: What Parents Need to Know About the New Gen Z Social Media App

I spent the afternoon feeling a little nostalgic. And also very old.

A new app called Noplace recently topped the app charts so we decided we should see what all the fuss was about and whether there was anything here parents needed to know about. 

So down the rabbit hole I went: reading reviews, the app’s community guidelines and terms of service, and (reluctantly) downloading the app myself to poke around a bit.

If you’ve got a kid asking to download the app (or a kid already using it), here’s everything you need to know.

What is Noplace?

Noplace is a social media platform designed to appeal to younger users, especially those in Gen Z. The app combines original elements from older platforms like Twitter and Myspace in an effort to return to a more “social” experience, as opposed to the ad- and algorithm-dominated experiences of leading social media apps today.

Noplace uses AI-driven suggestions, rather than traditional algorithmic feeds, to enhance user engagement and facilitate the discovery of new content and connections.

Here are some other distinguishing features of the app:

  • Customizable profiles with various colors, tags, and other features.
  • A strong emphasis on real-time updates, allowing users to share what they’re doing at the moment. 
  • Global group chat and public-only profiles (users cannot choose to make their profile private) that allow users to engage in conversations with people from around the world.

Noplace or Nospace?

Noplace makes no attempt to distance itself from the early social media apps that inspired it. It intentionally embraces the comparisons. Originally called Nospace (an allusion to MySpace), the app changed its name to Noplace after receiving a cease-and-desist letter.

Probably the biggest reason for Noplace’s popularity among Gen Z is that it’s colorful. That’s kind of a joke and kind of not. 

Compared to other popular social media apps, the colorful, customizable profiles of Noplace do provide a unique opportunity to personalize user profiles. And given that the point of the app is social connection, the ability for self-expression (even if small) does seem to matter.

noplace screenshots

The colorful experience is also very reminiscent of Myspace’s heyday and taps into the nostalgia for social networking experiences of the past. For many Gen Z users, the ability to create a personalized online space feels both novel and retro, setting it apart from the standardization that has crept into most other platforms.

The focus on real-time activity sharing likely adds to its appeal as well. We saw this with the rapid rise of BeReal. On Noplace, teens can instantly share what they’re doing, which does create a lively, dynamic environment.

Is Noplace Safe for Kids?

No. Although it’s intentionally marketed toward Gen Z, Noplace includes features like public profiles, global chat, and real-time activity feeds that present real dangers for kids or teens who have yet to learn all the skills necessary to safely navigate a digital world.

Unlike platforms that offer private profiles, Noplace profiles are accessible to anyone with no option to make them private. This gives your child direct access to communication with any other user on the app and, more importantly, gives every Noplace user access to your child. That opens the door to grooming, sextortion, and other scams.

The focus on real-time activity sharing can also lead to privacy issues. Teens may overshare their current locations or activities, making them vulnerable to safety risks. The emphasis on real-time sharing, together with the reverse-chronological order feed, will likely encourage excessive screen-time because teens may feel like they’re missing out on something any time they close the app.

Photo and video sharing is not currently a feature on Noplace, so exposure to explicit content is less a concern here than on other platforms like Instagram or Snapchat. Text-based explicit content or harassment remains a concern, despite Noplace’s community rules. The app’s moderators need to actively monitor content to prevent inappropriate behavior and maintain a safe space for all users and that’s proven impossible on other, much bigger, apps.

screenshots of inappropriate messages on noplace

Noplace is listed for ages 13+ and their terms of service do state that users under the age of 18 should have parental permission before downloading. But how many kids are going to dig through the terms and conditions page on Noplace’s website before downloading the app? I’m going to go out on a limb and say none. Like, not a single one.

Similarly, Noplace offers two “content preference” user experiences based on age but it’s unlikely most adoloscents will opt in to the kid option. One is for users 18+ and the other for users under 18. The younger experience is labeled “wholesome” and is defined in the app onboarding process this way: “excludes 18+ content.”

poor age restrictions on noplace

A user simply picks which of the two experiences they want. If the user picks 18+, there is zero attempt to verify that the user is in fact 18+. (Not even the easily-bypassable “enter your birthdate” approach used on other platforms.)

Tips for Parents

As with any social media platform, parents should take an active role in understanding how Noplace works before giving a child access to it. Most experts now agree that 13 is too young for social media but parents know their kids best and should determine when the right time is in their family.

Once your child is old enough that you know they can safely navigate the risks, it’s still a good idea to discuss the dangers and try for regular conversations about what they’re seeing and posting on the app.

If you aren’t confident your child is ready for an app like Noplace, play it safe. 

There are great tech options available now that give kids a more gradual introduction to technology and allow parents to tailor the experience to the needs of their kids. This means kids can start connecting with friends and family digitally without throwing them in the deep end.

Is Noplace safe for kids?

What do you think? Does Noplace sound like an improvement on other social media apps? Or just more of the same? Let us know in the comments below.

Comments

  • Blog | Gabb Wireless - Phone Safety & Tech Tips For Parents on Jul 11, 2024 03:36 PM

    […] Noplace: What Parents Need to Know About the New Gen Z Social Media App […]

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