Family

App review: ‘Firework: A New Way to Watch,’ create 30-second videos with cool features and without comments or likes

Parents need to know that Firework: A New Way to Watch is a freemium social media app that lets users browse and create 30-second videos. Registration requires either a Facebook or Google account or a phone number and asks users for gender and age. If users enter anything under 13 for the latter, a message reminds them users must be over 13, but there's no verification. Users can share one another's profiles and videos. They can also message each other directly, as well as report or block one another. User-created videos can contain objectionable content including profanity, semi-nudity, and suggestive performances by tween girls. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT?

Firework: A New Way to Watch is a freemium social media app with some similarities to TikTok that lets you create 30-second videos in both vertical and horizontal format, just by turning your phone. It also contains filters that let you add visual and time effects to your videos, as well as music (from an existing library of songs) and text. Tools also let you "collaborate" with other users indirectly by splitting or editing their videos or making screen-in-screen videos of you reacting to them. Videos can be posted to the app and shared across a wide range of the most popular social media apps, but there's no "Like" option or comments – only "Not Interested" or "Share." The app asks you a series of questions to determine your interests, then curates videos related to them. You can browse videos by swiping left and right, or search by creator or hashtag. You can also follow other users, message them directly, and share their profiles. Sponsored Challenges encourage you make videos regarding specific subjects and buy products from third-party vendors using a "Buy Now" button.

IS IT ANY GOOD?

Elegant, user-friendly interface and easy-to-use editing tools make this one of the better video creation apps out there, but there are still some risks for teens. Uploading and sharing videos is easy, and the absence of likes and commenting minimizes the negativity and creepiness video makers receive. Users can still message you directly, but it's easier to block or report specific users than to turn off comments entirely.

If you're more browser than a creator, easy swipe controls let you comb through different categories or you can search for specific subjects by people, hashtags, or music. One cool feature: If you like the music someone uses on a video, you can hit View Soundtrack and see the song's title and even save it to your Favorites. All told, the app is well-organized and functions well, but it suffers from the same safety issues so many social media apps do. Though the content that's served up on the surface is pretty tame, there's a decent number of "sexy" videos if you dig in a bit further with young women in skimpy clothes or performing suggestive dances. Firework: A New Way to Watch is a good app to make short-form videos, but only if you keep a close eye on the content your kids create.

RATING AND CONTENT

Recommended for ages 15 and older

Quality: 4 out of 5

Educational value: 0 out of 5

Ease of play: 4 out of 5

Violence: 0 out of 5

Sex: 0 out of 5

Language: 0 out of 5

Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 0 out of 5

Consumerism: 3 out of 5

APP DETAILS

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android

Price: Free

Release date: April 3, 2018

Category: Photo & Video

Size: 90.60 MB

Publisher: Loop Now Technologies, Inc.

Version: 5.2.1

Minimum software requirements: iOS 11.0 or later; Android 5.0 and up

Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsense.org.

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