Sipa Press A popular mobile game that randomly selects photos from players’ smartphone albums causes moments of embarrassment for teens and panics their parents over privacy risks.
Photo Roulette, a free app for iOS and Android devices, was released a few years ago but only took off recently. In October, it was the most downloaded iPhone game in the United States for the first time. Here’s how it works: a player invites up to 49 friends to join the game, and players give the app access to their phone’s photo albums. The application selects a photo, completely at random, and displays it to everyone for five seconds; other players have to guess where it came from. The winner is the one who found the most correct answers after 15 rounds.
For adults, the risks may seem obvious. But for many children, it’s just a fun game – until a sensitive photo appears. The photos, memes and suggestive messages that appear are perhaps the most annoying for teenagers. Some have told me that nude photos and screenshots of text messages where they are flirting with others arose during the games. Sometimes it is personal data.
Cadence Messier, a 17-year-old from Gilbert, Arizona, was invited by friends to play Photo Roulette about two weeks ago. “I was a little scared of it all, so I looked at my photo album to make sure there was nothing embarrassing and saw that there was not much annoying, ”she says. But when she joined the game, the app posted a photo of her social security number. Cadence’s mother had texted her a copy when she needed to register for SAT (Editor’s note: language test required by American universities). Cadence hadn’t noticed it among his more than 10,000 photos.
When she told her parents what had happened, they were worried. His mother, Lori, explains that this episode made him wonder about sending sensitive data …