The popular new app is meant to "gas up" friends and boost self-esteem through anonymous polls. Here's what to know about the latest social media app.
Gas, the new anonymous app, is growing in popularity among teens. The appeal appears to be the sense of safety in the ability to use the app without being identified by peers. But is Gas safe for kids? Does everything on the platform truly remain anonymous? Here is what parents need to know.
What Is Gas?
Founded by Nikita Bier, Gas is an anonymous app geared solely towards high school students. The app uses location data to let users choose their high school. You can then answer a series of anonymous questions curated by the app. On the plus side, the app was designed with positivity in mind. Bier describes the app as "an app to compliment your friends" with multiple choice questions that ask who is the person you're down to date or the coolest kid in school. Questions are created by Gas so the content remains uplifting and positive. And perhaps the anonymity of it all is what has driven the app to garner over 500k downloads and is the number one free download in Apple's app store; Gas was released in August 2022 and in only 12 states at this time.
How Old Do Gas Users Have To Be?
The Gas app was designed for high school students. Location data allows users to select from high schools in their area. They then create their anonymous profile on the app before they are allowed to begin answering multiple choice questions. According to the apps Terms of Service, no one under the age of 13 is allowed to use or access the app.
Does Gas Offer Parental Controls?
The Gas app offers very little functionality and therefore there are no parental controls. There is no chatting or direct messaging on the app whatsoever, so according to parent safety app Bark, this makes predation less likely on Gas than other popular social media apps such as Snapchat. Bier also told NBC News correspondent Suzanne Sellers there is no tracking or advertising on the app. If you are uncomfortable with your child using the app you could always use a third party parental control system to block the download of Gas and any other apps.
What Makes the Gas App So Popular?
The whole purpose of the app is to "gas your friends up." With all of the questions authored by the app, Gas can easily be seen as a fun and positive way to connect with peers and to boost confidence as you receive compliments. "We've really wanted to create a safe place for teens to share what they love about each other and I think we've really accomplished that with Gas" the creator told Sellers.
What Are the Negatives Associated With the Gas App?
While the anonymous app has received great reviews from students, social media always comes with drawbacks. The Pew Research Center showed that teens feel more connected to their friends through social media, it also showed 45% feel overwhelmed by social media drama. And while Gas has great intentions, one can see how constantly being ranked by your peers could get messy.
While Gas is safer than apps such as Instagram or websites like Twitch, it's always important to discuss proper social media use with your teens. Conversations around self-esteem, online validation and anxiety are all good ones to have when talking with your kids about internet use.