What is ZEPETO?
ZEPETO is a mobile and web app that allows people ages 13 and older to create and customize virtual avatars with various features, clothes, hairstyles, and accessories and interact with others in virtual worlds. ZEPETO is popular among teens and young adults, who can also design and monetize digital products in the app. The company is based in South Korea and has a global user base of over 400 million people.
How do people interact on ZEPETO?
People interact primarily through their avatars by posting images or videos called booths, hanging out in virtual spaces called worlds, talking in individual or group text and voice chats, and creating and selling custom items within the user community. Within worlds, people capture and share virtual avatar selfies, and play interactive mini-games.
A traditional feed displays content from accounts they follow, recommendations from ZEPETO, and trending content. People can like, share and comment on posts.
Why do teens like ZEPETO?
The platform is very versatile, allowing users to share artfully designed content, suggest fashion styles for peers, design unique items or virtual environments, and even develop a variety of short and long-form content using ZEPETO avatars. Tools make designing high-quality items and virtual environments accessible to everyone.
How does ZEPETO protect teens?
ZEPETO employs AI technology to prevent and detect inappropriate images and text, a user reporting system across each of its features, and human moderators for preventative and reactive moderation.
Community Guidelines outline the content and behaviors ZEPETO doesn’t allow, including actions that “involve sexual activity and nudity, violence, self-harm, hate speech, bullying, misinformation, and other harmful behaviors that can threaten the safety and security of our users or platform.”
Additionally, within the app, they’ve deployed a dedicated safety avatar named “Soteria” and an account, managed by their Trust and Safety team members, that regularly posts safety tips and reminders for their users on topics ranging from privacy, talking to strangers, mental wellness, and more.
How does ZEPETO make money?
ZEPETO is free to download and use. In addition to free customization options, users can purchase additional avatar features, hairstyles, clothing, and accessories made by ZEPETO and ZEPETO’s Creator community with coins, called ZEMS, ZEPETO’s digital in-app currency bought with real money.
Users under 18 are prompted for parental consent before purchases are enabled. Parents can restrict in-app purchases through device settings. For more information, visit ZEPETO’s Paid Service Terms and Conditions.
Advice for Parents
Safety on ZEPETO, much like any other social app, depends on how it’s used. Parents who understand how ZEPETO works and why their teen likes it, can better guide their teens in using it safely. Here are some tips to discuss with your teen.
Signing up. It’s important for teens to sign up for ZEPETO using their correct date of birth. Safety systems that run in the background offer another layer of protection for your teen.
Privacy and communication settings. Review these with your teen and decide how private or public they should be. Options include who can view posts, view your network, privately message you, tag you in content and more. Create a family rule about keeping agreed-upon settings, but review them as your teen grows and matures.
Friends. Users can add friends, create content with them, interact with them in virtual spaces, and send private messages. Discuss with your teen how to keep these interactions safe and positive. Be sure they know how to block and report inappropriate contact or behavior.
Blocking and reporting. If your teen encounters inappropriate behavior, they should block and report the user. These important features empower users to help maintain safety on the platform. In ZEPETO, reports must be submitted through the exact feature the violation occurred in for accurate review and action.
Life balance. Encourage your teen to allocate specific time for digital interactions and emphasize the importance of offline activities like exercise, face-to-face socialization, hobbies, schoolwork, and time with family.
Explore together. It’s a great way to see what your teen is doing and how they are expressing themselves in ZEPETO and better understand why they love it. You may be pleasantly surprised about what they already do to ensure a safe and fun experience on the app.
You can find more information on ZEPETO’s platform guidelines, safety measures, and additional resources on relevant online safety topics in ZEPETO’s Safety Center, including their official Guardian’s Guide, Crisis Resources, and Anti-Grooming Guide.