Launched in 2016, Houseparty’s main goal is to bring friends together via video chat. By letting users create rooms with up to eight people, Houseparty is a social media app available for iOS, Chrome, and Android, where friends can play games together in a private space online. Although the app primarily focuses on games such as Heads Up! and Trivia, it originally became especially popular among Fortnite players. So, it was fitting that Fortnite’s developer, Epic Games, ended up purchasing the app in 2019 and later developed a specific mode for the popular battle royale game. The service’s popularity reached its peak during the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, when many people in lockdown saw Houseparty as the perfect app to have a fun time with their friends. Unfortunately, Houseparty’s road to success has been a bumpy one, with accusations of data breaches and being an unsafe place for children.
Is the Houseparty App Safe?
Not long after Houseparty’s number of downloads skyrocketed, the company had its first scandal. Various users who had installed the app to play games with friends while in lockdown had their credentials from other platforms compromised. Since this happened right after users installed Houseparty, it’s understandable that people thought the app was responsible. However, after a thorough investigation from Houseparty and some independent external experts, it was concluded that these allegations were false. Houseparty never had a data breach, and it didn’t expose any customer data or third-party account information.
Parents with tech-savvy kids are another concerned group. This time around, the major issue is that the app allows users to invite friends of friends for live video chats. In other words, if an online predator is a friend of any 14-year-old, they’ll get access to a wide network full of teens that they can chat with pretty easily. Of course, Houseparty has various community guidelines to prevent this, and kids can swiftly report users for obscene content, illegal activity, etc. Even so, we do recommend that parents monitor their kids’ Houseparty usage, as they should with any other social media platform or website.
Recommended VPNs for Houseparty
NordVPN is considered of the most trustworthy VPNs on the market. Not only does it include some important features like a kill switch and DNS leak protection, but the company also follows a no-log policy where little to no information is stored. Combine that with a fast, worldwide VPN network and you start to understand the reason for NordVPN’s popularity. Of course, the app supports most devices, including iOS and Android. Prices start at $2.99 per month with a 3-year subscription that works with up to six devices connected simultaneously, and you can test everything out for yourself through the 7-day free trial.
From fast connections to a reliable customer support team, ExpressVPN scores highly across all departments. This VPN has servers in over 90 countries across the globe, supports all types of devices, and comes with many helpful features to keep your data secure. Besides a kill switch and an auto-start option, the intuitive app also offers built-in smart DNS for higher security. Due to its fast speeds, it’s also the perfect VPN to use when playing online. Unfortunately, ExpressVPN is more expensive than your typical VPN, with prices starting at $8.32 per month. Although there isn’t a free trial, the company allows users to test the software for 30 days via its money-back guarantee.
Typically, ghosts are known for being able to defy the laws of physics, move at great speed, and stay undetected – in short, everything you want when you’re online. So, CyberGhost is a fitting name for a VPN that offers all these perks. With over 3,000 servers located in more than 60 countries, you can easily change your IP to anywhere in the world and pass through any firewall. Simultaneously, by offering reliable 256-bit AES encryption, trustworthy DNS with IP leak prevention, and a kill switch, CyberGhost allows you to do everything undetected. Since connections are also fast, you can literally be a digital ghost with CyberGhost. And you don’t even need to call Ghostbusters to help you out, as prices start as low as $2.75 per month.
Banned on Houseparty
Like any other social media platform, Houseparty has its share of community guidelines. Break these, and you can expect to be banned from the app. Being under 13, impersonating someone by using a fake picture or name, sharing copyrighted content, using abusive language, and conducting illegal activities are just some of the things that can get you banned.
That being said, any user can falsely report you, which can lead to an unfair ban. In this case, you can contact Houseparty’s client service to recover your access. Bear in mind that since it’s a free service with various users, customer support may take a while to answer. If this doesn’t work, you’ll have to create a new account and either use Houseparty on a different device or while connected to a VPN.
It’s a no brainer that you should use a VPN with Houseparty – especially if you use the app while connected to mobile data or public Wi-Fi. Another reason to keep a VPN running in the background at all times is to protect all the information shared with the company while in transit. Houseparty collects a lot of its users’ information, and although there are several settings you can change to prevent some tracking, Houseparty will always need a bit of your data to function properly. A VPN will also allow you to bypass government (or ISP) surveillance and censorship.
Still, VPNs can only go so far. If a hacker can guess your password, then your account will be breached no matter how strong the VPN is. That’s why we also recommend a password manager to create a lengthy and completely random password. Meanwhile, if you worry about your kids’ online activity, parental control software can monitor Houseparty’s messages for increased peace of mind.