Up until now "The App of the Day" has featured an app I think many people will find useful or entertaining. Not this week.
I learned about an app called "Melon" the other day from a teenager who downloaded it and decided to take a look for myself. Ooh Boy.
Melon is one of the latest video chat apps that connects users around the world. You never know who you may meet or what they'll be doing when you connect.
The app wants you to connect over Facebook and when you do it asks you to invite your Facebook friends to use it. It should give you a chance to opt out, but when I downloaded it, the invitations went out immediately which was annoying to my friends to say the least.
By tapping the screen you're immediately connected to someone. My first connection was with a group of guys driving around in a car. They immediately started in with cyberbullying, calling me names. The next connection was with a group of young men who cursed me, threatened to kill me and pointed a gun at the screen. That was without me saying anything.
Other video chats ended similarly while most people disconnected before saying anything. I connected to about 2 dozen other users, all of them young men hoping to chat with women.
That's not to say every chat was like that. I talked for a bit with a young man from Saudi Arabia, another from Texas and another from Washington who were pleasant enough, one showing me a litter of puppies he planned to sell.
Overall though, it was an experience I'd like to forget.
Melon states that the app is restricted to people 13 years old and older but like other apps, it is impossible to monitor that. Melon also gives users the opportunity to report another user for offensive behavior.
I've used many of the video chat apps in both app stores and Melon was the worst of the bunch, judging by the actions of other users.
Any app that offers live video chats cannot block offensive or threatening language other than banning users AFTER their actions. Melon states the chats are monitored but since it's live, things will happen that you can't unsee or unhear.
Many parents will be shocked and angry that this type of content is so easily available to children and teenagers. The app is available for free for iPhones and Android devices.