Everything Parents Need To Know About Marco Polo

Lakshmi | November 14, 2020

Marco Polo app logo

During the Covid-19 pandemic, social media sites have become the top tools for communication. While teens can already use mainstream social media apps, younger children started finding other ways to keep in touch. Marco Polo is one of the new apps kids started using during the pandemic. But, before allowing kids to use Marco Polo, let’s try to answer the following question: Is Marco Polo safe? 


What is Marco Polo App?  


Marco Polo is a video chat and messaging app - a “video walkie-talkie”- that allows users to send video messages to each other. It's like an instant messenger, but with video. Unlike temporary Snapchat messages, sent videos are permanent until the recipient deletes them. Users can send video and text messages to others that they can watch on their own time, rather than committing to a video call or posting content publicly to stories.The terms of service require users to be at least 13 years old, but younger children are allowed to use it with parental supervision to keep up with their friends and family members.  

What follows is a review of the app and some of its advantages and disadvantages. 


Advantages of Marco Polo App 

  1. All connections are via phone number, which means kids can't connect with strangers. There is no public feed, making the app safer. 

  1. Marco Polo is like any other messaging app and allows users to read and send messages on their own time. 

  1. The app has no ads or inappropriate content. The lack of ads and inappropriate content makes it safer. 

  1. The basic version is free to use. However, the paid premium version with $9.99 monthly subscription is available with more features.  

  1. Users can see their chat history and old videos. 

  1. Users can create group chats and anyone in the group chat can see the chat history. 

  1. Users can delete messages from all Marco Polo servers so neither the user nor the receiver can see them.  

  1. Marco Polo is an independent app, so it's not connected to larger social networks. 

  1. There are a few fun features like being able to change the sound of one's voice in videos!  

  1. Texts and drawings can be added to the videos. 


Disadvantages of Marco Polo App 


  1. One of the most common complaints by Marco Polo users is that the basic version offers few features. 

  1. There have been reports of Marco Polo sending out unsolicited promotional messages to other contacts.  

  1. There have been reports of video message misuse. It's important to note that individual users may be on someone else’s contact list, and they can still send the user video messages.  

  1. Data is only protected when sending messages, so the data’s safety is questionable while stored on Marco Polo servers.  

  1. If a user deletes their account, their profile and shared information is still available to others.   

  2. Marco Polo asks for access to people’s contacts, in addition to their cameras and microphone. It’s committed to not monetizing or selling any of that data.


This leads us to the very first question we started with: Is Marco Polo safe? 


Smart Social categorizes Marco Polo as a gray zone app. A gray zone app is an app that can be safe as long as parents are nearby. If supervised, video chats are more likely to be safe and promote communication between friends. Occasionally, there may be problems with inappropriate messages in both text and videos. But, the issue is preventable with proper supervision and by following these internet safety rules: 

  • Ensure that your child knows what not to say or show in messages 

  • Teach your child that the video messages can be misused 

  • Use the app so you’re knowledgeable about it 

  • Establish rules for using the app 

  • Maintain open communication with your child 


In summary, Marco Polo is a relatively safe way for children to be in touch with their friends. Knowing the pros and cons of Marco Polo can help a parent decide whether or not this app is kid-friendly!  


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