Zepeto is a smartphone and tablet application developed by the Korean company Naver Z. It is aimed at users aged 12 and over, and is essentially a social networking platform.
It is supported by Android and iOS and is available to download from both the google play store and the app store. Teens who download Zepeto get to create their very own avatar and socialize with other users in the virtual world, playing mini-games, designing clothes and chatting with friends.
It was first popular in South Korea but has since become increasingly popular in the US among elementary and middle school aged kids. It has plenty of brilliant and innovative features, and some glitchy areas too. So read on to see if Zepeto might be a world you’d like to be part of.
When you download Zepeto to your phone you automatically get 2000 free points to start you on your journey. These points can be traded in for clothes, accessories, movements, furniture and games, and are really the lifeblood of the app.
You can earn more points by completing games, or by watching the adverts that will intermittently pop-up. This can be boring, but every time you feel frustrated at being interrupted, just remember that you will get lots of lovely points in return for your patience.
You can also use real money to purchase more points and buy more stuff, but you don’t want to break the bank, so be sure to set yourself a spending limit and don’t be persuaded to exceed it. Remember, Zepeto is just a virtual world - real money should be saved for the real world.
Creating an avatar
The first thing that you have to do in order to use Zepeto is create your very own avatar. To do this the app asks permission to have access to your camera so that you can take a selfie.
This is because the app creates an avatar based on your own likeness, so no one else will have the same avatar as you - just like a fingerprint! This is a really cool feature that many teens particularly enjoy.
We live in the age of selfies after all, and it is amazing to see how smartphone technology can translate your real face into a 3D animated version.
The fact that your avatar really resembles you means that you bond with it more easily, and it is hilarious to see how your friend’s avatars turn out!
Some parents worry that, because the app asks permission to use the camera, it can access the microphone and video as well, but this is not true. You can rest assured that the Zepeto app is not tracking or spying on you, and it is not recording you either!
Making your avatar move
Once your avatar is created, it can then be taught hundreds of different movements and physical responses from an awesome dropdown menu. Some of the moves are pretty basic, like waving and jumping, whereas others are more quirky, like flossing!
But they are all really fun to try out, and the graphics look awesome. The movements are smooth and very lifelike, and once you have taught your avatar to do them it will be able to use those moves to interact with other avatars out in the Zepeto world.
The great thing is that, whether you are good at dancing or have two left feet, your avatar will be able to do all the things you want it to. Some of these movements are free, but others cost precious points, so try before you buy and be selective.
Dressing your avatar
The next step is arguably the most fun part of the whole app. Your avatar comes dressed in some basic clothes but you can now dress it in whatever fashion items you like from the huge selection available.
The clothes store on Zepeto looks a lot like any real online clothes store, with hundreds of beautifully displayed garments for you to scroll through and select. You can try them out to see if they suit your avatar, and mix and match them into whatever wild or super trendy combos you like.
The really handy thing about the fashion store is that it will give you loads of inspiration for outfits in real life. Having a virtual version of yourself is great like that, because if something looks terrible there are no embarrassing consequences, and if something looks good you can keep your eyes peeled for a similar look for yourself.
Fashion has long been a way that people in their teens express themselves. Teenage years can be a time of experimentation, creativity and rebellion, but it isn’t always possible to play out all your extravagant ideas in real life.
On Zepeto there are no boundaries and it can be really freeing to get creative and try some daring looks out! What is more, you don’t just have one outfit - this isn’t the Simpsons! No, if you accrue enough points you can build up a whole wardrobe and change into as many different looks as you like.
Entering the Zepeto world
Once you are dressed and ready to go, you can begin to navigate your avatar through the many amazing locations in the Zepeto world. The controls are very easy to get the hang of, and there is no time limit to your play, so you don’t need to worry about being speedy or losing lives like you do on other apps.
Instead you can wander around virtual classrooms, down virtual streets and even set up your own virtual home! Yes, this is another really awesome feature of the app because most average teens don’t have their own pads just yet (unless you are some mega-rich kid!) and yet, through the app you get to decorate and furnish a whole home exactly as you wish.
You can try out different (and very gorgeous) wallpapers, and add beds, spreads and all the trinkets you like. It really is incredibly creative and is, once again, a great way to get ideas and inspiration for your real life without risking a paint disaster in your bedroom that you can’t just click to undo!
Connecting with friends
And now for the most important part of all. Zepeto is really a social networking app, and a huge part of the fun is that you can interact with other avatars, play friendly games with them and even chat.
There is a simple chat function, much like the kind used to DSM on Facebook and Snapchat, and it means that even once you have left the school gates you can still hangout with your friends and have loads of fun.
You can even take selfies together (well, your avatars can) and upload the pictures to the Zepeto feed, along with stories and news. You will be given a 6 digit player code when you first sign up, and you can share this with friends in order to find them and link up.
Then you can start your own online Zepeto gang and welcome others to join. You can also chat to people from all around the world who are using the app, but this comes with some obvious risks.
Luckily, the app does not allow you to share any personal phone numbers or email addresses with strangers, and you should try to stick to chatting with friends you know in real life where possible.
Socializing is an incredibly important part of being a teenager, and it is brilliant that the Zepeto app brings kids together in an imaginative and innovative way, however, virtual hangouts should never be a replacement for real life meetups, so make sure you go and chill at the mall and in the park too!
Creating your own items
The final jewel in the Zepeto crown is that you can actually design and create your own items to wear, use and even sell! Yes, the app has amazing technology that enables you to come up with original ideas and then sell them to others.
The sales will translate into points that you get to spend in the game, and you can also cash out the sales and convert them into real money if you sell enough. The most important thing about this feature is that it genuinely encourages creativity and innovation.
You can design dresses, skirts, sunglasses, sportswear, couches, bowties and much, much more. There is even the option to design items for existing brands like Nike and Adidas. Zepeto will provide you with all the virtual tools necessary, so you just have to unleash your imagination.
Zepeto is essentially an app that allows you to create a 3D avatar of yourself and use it in chatrooms to hangout with friends old and new. The graphics are great, the content is vast, and the benefits include encouraging your creativity, innovation and social skills.
There are ads and in-app purchases that can seem frustrating, but the app is also packed with ways of earning points and awesome rewards without spending money.
As social networking apps go, Zepeto is pretty cool, but no virtual world can compete with real life interactions, so make sure that you spend as much time looking after your real self as you do your online avatar.