Jan 12, 2023

What is Hive Social? Is it safe for kids?

Qustodio team

Qustodio team

Experts in digital safety

what is hive social

How do you stand out in a saturated social media world? With the giants of social networking filled with incessant streams of heavily voiced opinions, and a whirlwind flurry of reels, video loops, and advertising, tired users are beginning to look somewhere quieter for their social media fix. Enter Hive Social, offering up a “new approach to social media”. 

But just what makes Hive different, and how popular is it really becoming? And, more importantly, is Hive Social safe for the heaviest social media users of today – teenagers?

What is Hive Social?

Launched in 2019, Hive Social was created by its founder, then-college student Raluca, to be social networking in a more simplistic form. Hive Social was designed to go against an algorithm directing users to feeds they might like to see, in favor of chronological posts from friends, followers and family. 

Users of Hive Social can post images and videos, GIFs, and polls, scroll their feed to see content from the people they follow, and explore trending topics on the apps ‘Discover’ section.

How does Hive Social work? 

To get started, users simply have to enter a date of birth, and select a few interests that can help tailor their feed. With a username, profile picture, and bio filled out, they’re now ready to start scrolling. The Hive Social setup shows both trending, publicly shared content, and posts from friends, displayed in chronological order rather than algorithm-based suggestions. 

Hive lets users edit their profile with color themes and featured music – just like in the days of Myspace. Once ready, users can post:

  • Pictures from the camera roll
  • Pictures taken in the moment
  • Memes, images, or other creative content
  • GIFs
  • Written content in a post format (similar to Twitter, but without the text limit)
  • Polls

At the time we tested Hive Social to complete this review, the poll and customizable profile music features were unavailable. It seems Hive Social still has some tweaks and improvements to make in order to be able to offer up the complete user experience advertised on its website

Is hive social safe for teens

Is Hive Social safe?

According to a Zerforschung report, Hive Social users are prone to “multiple critical security vulnerabilities”, including direct message leaks, images, and private user data such as phone numbers or email addresses. In the German cybersecurity company’s investigation, it was also revealed that users could even edit posts on other people’s accounts.

In response to the assessment, Hive Social shut down their servers in late November 2022, releasing a new update a few weeks later that claimed to fix security issues, among other tweaks to help improve the app’s user experience. 

Just like with most social media apps, Hive Social collects personal information. As outlined in their privacy policy, the app collects personal data, including name, phone number, contact details, and email address.

How old do you have to be to use Hive Social?

On the Apple Store, Hive Social is rated as 17+. NSFW content is displayed only to those aged 18 and up, and users have to head to their settings in order to turn off the mature content filter, which is set to “on” as default when downloading the app.

On the Google Play Store, Hive Social is rated as “Teen”, which is used to describe apps with content generally “suitable for ages 13 and up”. 

Is Hive safe for kids to use?

Possible data security issues aside, Hive Social has some other problematic aspects that make it unsuitable for children and teens to use. 

1. NSFW (not suitable for work) content

Hive Social lets users share and post explicit images, including nudity and sexual intercourse. NSFW posts must be labeled, so they can be automatically blurred in the feed. If a user wants to view a NSFW image, they must tap on the blurred content to see it. NSFW content is only shown in feeds to users above the age of 18. 

No age verification is necessary during signup, so it’s relatively easy for users under the age of 18 to lie about their age in order to start viewing NSFW and inappropriate content

2. Contact with strangers 

Users on Hive Social follow accounts they’re interested in, rather than sending out friend requests. This means that, unless users set their profile to Private, anyone can follow and interact with a profile’s content. This is risky for younger users, who could upload revealing information or private details through the images and text posts they share. 

3. Cyberbullying

Hive Social allows users to leave comments on posts and send direct messages, which, as with most social media, leaves teens vulnerable to mean comments, trolling, online harassment, doxxing, and other forms of cyberbullying. Teens can help reduce the risk of online abuse by making their profile private and connecting only with people they know personally. 

4. It’s still a form of social media

Despite Hive Social’s simplicity, it’s still a social media platform, and while the risks associated with other popular apps like Instagram and Tiktok might not be as obvious, they’ll be there in some form or another. Social media apps can negatively affect young users like teenagers, distracting and disrupting their day in the short term, while also affecting their mental health in the long term, offering up unrealistic views of other people’s lives and promoting unattainable beauty standards. 

Qustodio’s final recommendation for Hive Social

As Hive Social is still a relatively new social media app, there isn’t a huge amount of content to be found on the more public side, but of course, user’s feeds will depend on who they follow. Teens connecting on Hive Social will still be open to any of the risks associated with these platforms, and could quite easily connect with strangers in an attempt to expand their follower or “friendship” group online. 

For parents and guardians, we’d recommend downloading Hive Social first and creating an account, to see what kind of content children will be exposed to when signing up. This is the best way to get to know any kind of new app or social media network, and understand what your child likes and dislikes. It means you can share open, honest dialogue with your teen about the pros and cons of each application. 

Finally, if you do decide to allow your child to use Hive Social, make sure they know how to use the reporting features, and block inappropriate content. This, teamed with regular discussion about healthy social media behavior and your expectations of them in the digital world, should help them understand how to stay safe online. 

How can Qustodio help protect your family?

Qustodio is the best way to keep your kids safe online and help them create healthy digital habits. Our parental control tools ensure they don't access inappropriate content or spend too much time in front of their screens.