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Bogus Warning - 'Talking Angela' Threat to Children

Outline
Circulating warning claims that a site called "Talking Angela" is collecting personal information from children and taking their photographs without notice.

Kids Playing on Tablet

Depositphotos.com/Dmitry Naumov



Brief Analysis
The claims in the message are scaremongering nonsense. "Talking Angela" is not a website but rather an interactive app made by a reputable and well known app development company. Like other apps by the company such as the famous "Talking Tom", the app offers harmless fun to youngsters and is in no way malicious.

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Example
WARNING FOR TO ALL PARENTS WITH CHILDREN THAT HAVE ANY ELECTRONIC DEVICES , EX : IPOD,TABLETS ETC .... THERE IS A SITE CALLED TALKING ANGELA , THIS SITE ASKS KIDS QUESTIONS LIKE : THERE NAMES , WHERE THEY GO TO SCHOOL AND ALSO TAKE PICTURES OF THEIR FACES BY PUSHING A HEART ON THE BOTTOM LEFT CORNER WITHOUT ANY NOTICES . PLEASE CHECK YOUR CHILDREN'S IPODS AND ALL TO MAKE SURE THEY DO NOT HAVE


Detailed Analysis
This breathless, ALL CAPS warning is currently circulating rapidly via Facebook and other social media outlets. The supposed alert for parents claims that a "site" named Talking Angela is asking children questions such as their names and where they go to school as well as taking photographs of them without notification. The implication in the supposed warning is that the "site" is collecting this information for sinister reasons and that allowing children to use it could put them in danger.





However, the claims in the message are nonsense. Talking Angela provides harmless fun for children and there is nothing remotely sinister or harmful about it.

The message was obviously written by a person who either has no idea what he or she is talking about or is deliberately scaremongering.

Firstly, "Talking Angela" is an app, not a website. Secondly, like apps featuring other talking friends such as Talking Tom, It is designed to be interactive. "Angela" is a rather refined talking cat that children can interact with in various ways. The app is just one in a stable of similar apps created by OutFit7. OutFit7 is a well known and respected app developer. My own children and many others I know have used OutFit7 apps for years with nary a problem.

Moreover, before writing this article I downloaded a copy of the app and put it through its paces. There is nothing even vaguely sinister or inappropriate about the way the app operates. In fact, Talking Angela even has a feature called "Child Mode" designed to enhance the privacy of younger players. The Outfit7privacy policy notes:

Our products and services are not directed to, and we do not knowingly collect personal information from, children under 13. If we learn that we have collected personal information of a child under 13, we will take all reasonable steps to delete the information as soon as possible. If you become aware that your child has provided us with personal information without your consent, please contact us at http://outfit7.com/contact/.

Talking Angela was even featured on Entertainment Weekly's The Family Room:

If you’ve got a little one, chances are you’re familiar with a cute talking feline by the name of Angela from the Tom Love Angela app or the video for the duet “You Get Me,” which has gotten more than 50 million views. Now Angela will get her own free app early next month, in which she’ll not only repeat what you say, but also process it and respond. 

Of course, it is certainly wise to closely monitor the activities of your young children when they are using any Internet connected device. However, spreading fear mongering nonsense about a harmless children's app is counterproductive and will do nothing whatsoever to help keep children safe.

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Last updated: February 25, 2013
First published: February 25, 2013
Research by David White and Brett Christensen
Written by Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
OUTFIT7 PRIVACY POLICY
Talking Angela gets her own app: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO




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