Games are fun! According to the folks at Superbetter -- an app that uses games to fight anxiety and depression -- games can also help improve our mental health. Seems they have science on their side according to a number of studies . The app is free to download and use, and is targeted at everyone over the age of 13, particularly teens, young adults, and educators working with young people. The apps is designed to help people dealing with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and concussive symptoms build resilience to deal with their daily challenges. Level up, power up, and go on quests. Users get rewarded for doing things like drinking water, going or a walk, or giving yourself a hug. It sounds rather fun. What's their privacy like? Well, there are a few red flags for us, but not as many as other apps we reviewed.
What could happen if something goes wrong?
First reviewed April 20, 2022. Review updated, April 25, 2023
All in all, we have to say that SuperBetter's privacy practices feel like they've gotten a little worse since 2022. That's not great, especially for an app targeted at educators and used by young people. SuperBetter isn't bad, it's also not better, and probably a bit worse, in 2023.
Read our 2022 review:
Good news. Superbetter says they will never, ever sell you personal data. Yay! They do share data with third parties for research and advertising purposes, but it seems to be mostly anonymized data, which is generally ok. Although it's been found to be rather easy to de-anonymize some such data. All in all, it's probably OK to gamify your life with Superbetter without worrying too much about losing the privacy game...we hope.
Tips to protect yourself
- Do not log in using third-party accounts
- Do not connect to any third party via the app, or at least make sure that a third party employs decent privacy practices
- Do not give consent for sharing of personal data for marketing and advertisement.
- Choose a strong password! You may use a password control tool like 1Password, KeePass etc
- Do not use social media plug-ins.
- Use your device privacy controls to limit access to your personal information via app (do not give access to your camera, microphone, images, location unless neccessary)
- Keep your app regularly updated
- Limit ad tracking via your device (e.g. on iPhone go to Privacy -> Advertising -> Limit ad tracking) and biggest ad networks (for Google, go to Google account and turn off ad personalization)
- Request your data be deleted once you stop using the app. Simply deleting an app from your device usually does not erase your personal data.
- When starting a sign-up, do not agree to tracking of your data if possible.
What can be used to sign up?
Google Login, Apple Login and Facebook Connect are available
What data does the company collect?
Location, name, address, date of birth, email.
How does the company use this data?
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?
No known privacy or security incidents discovered in the last 3 years.
Child Privacy Information
Can this product be used offline?
User-friendly privacy information?
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
Superbetter told us, "We have an internal system for managing security vulnerabilities. We do not offer bug bounties." We have to trust them on this.
Mental health apps have terrible privacy protections, report findsThe Verge
The next great mental health app will look like Pokemon Go, according to a Silicon Valley psychologistBusiness Insider
SuperBetter Game Aims to Decrease DepressionChicago Health
Jane McGonigal's SuperBetter in Clinical TrialsBerkeley Center for New Media
SuperBetter Website ReviewCommon Sense Media
SuperBetter app reviewHealth Navigator
The top 8 mental health appsMedical News Today
Can we trust apps to solve our problems? SuperBetter – promises to improve overall conditions of healthMasters of Media
Randomized Controlled Trial of SuperBetter, a Smartphone-Based/Internet-Based Self-Help Tool to Reduce Depressive SymptomsMary Ann Liebert, Inc. Publishers
Reducing concussion symptoms among teenage youth: Evaluation of a mobile health appTaylor & Francis Online
The efficacy of smartphone-based mental health interventions for depressive symptoms: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trialsOfficial Journal of the World Psychiatric Association
Can smartphone mental health interventions reduce symptoms of anxiety? A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trialsJournal of Affective Disorders
Insights from user reviews to improve mental health appsSage Journals
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