What Parents and Carers Need to Know about NGL

It seems people just can’t resist finding out what others really think of them – whether that’s for better or worse. NGL, an app which invites a user’s social media followers to send them anonymous questions and feedback, flew to the summit of the App Store’s charts last summer and racked up almost 30 million total downloads throughout 2022.

The brutal honesty – and outright malice – that such anonymity can encourage, however, brings obvious drawbacks for a young audience. Teens seeking validation or reassurance may instead find themselves bombarded by negative comments highlighting aspects of themselves that they were already insecure about. This week’s NOS #WakeUpWednesday guide has all the details on NGL.

NGL claims to use “world-class AI content moderation … to filter out harmful language and bullying.” At the height of its popularity last June, however, when NGL was being touted as “the hottest app in the US”, NBC News conducted a test in which phrases like “Everyone hates you” and “You’re a loser” arrived uncensored. Evidently, the AI is far from as robust as NGL protests.

As our #WakeUpWednesday from NOS guide this week outlines, abusive anonymous messages aren’t the only pitfall that young people can encounter on NGL – with rolling subscription fees and the possibility of having their personal information re-shared online also among the primary pitfalls on this popular app where teens are encouraged to message incognito.

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