As kids get older, many begin to develop more interest in using a variety of apps on their smartphones, tablets, and other devices. While some apps are safe and age-appropriate, others that seem innocent can be dangerous for children. As a parent, it’s important to be aware of the popular apps your kids are using, so you can make sure they’re staying safe online.
A recent study showed that kids under the age of 8 spend an average of 2 hours and 19 minutes per day using mobile devices. For teens, the average daily time on devices is 7 hours per day. During all this screen time, what are your kids doing and seeing that you don’t know about?
Some of the apps on your kids’ devices can give them a virtual connection to friends and fun, but there is often an unseen danger that could put your child at risk. These are the top 5 app categories parents should know about and why they might cause harm to your children:
Kids love staying connected with their friends and family on social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. While there are some great things about social media, there are also some dangers that kids won’t necessarily consider during their time on these apps. For example, cyberbullying is a real problem on social media platforms. Parents should talk to their kids about online safety and make sure they know how to report any inappropriate behavior they see on social media.
Messaging apps like WhatsApp and iMessage are popular among kids for staying in touch with friends. However, these apps can also be used for cyberbullying and other inappropriate behavior. If your child is using an app that contains a messaging feature, consider talking to them about responsible use of messaging apps. Kids can be safer on apps if they feel comfortable reporting problems like cyberbullying to a responsible adult.
Gaming apps are extremely popular among kids of all ages. While there are many age-appropriate and safe games out there, parents need to be aware of the dangers of some gaming apps. For example, some games may contain violence, sexual content, or in-app purchases that can add up quickly. Parents should carefully review the games their kids are playing and make sure they are appropriate for their age.
Snapchat, Instagram, and other camera apps are popular among kids for sharing photos and videos with friends. However, these apps can also be used to share inappropriate photos and videos. Help your kids stay safe by talking to them about responsible use of camera apps and making sure they know how to report any problems.
If your child buys any items online, they may be using a shopping app like Amazon or eBay. While this is a convenient way to make purchases, these apps can also be used to make in-app purchases with your child’s financial information, or yours. Carefully review the shopping apps your kids are using to make sure they’re appropriate for their age, and that you know what can be purchased.
The most dangerous app your kid can download on their device is any app that allows anonymous messaging and communication. This should be your biggest red flag as a parent when you’re monitoring your child’s online activity. Here are a few of the most popular anonymous messaging apps used by kids:
Predators can pose as other kids on these apps and trick children into revealing personal information or sending them inappropriate pictures. It’s important for parents to be aware of these apps and talk to their kid about online safety.
In the past few years, Tik Tok has become a popular video-sharing app that allows users to create and share short videos. While TikTok can be a lot of fun for kids, there have been concerns about its safety, as the app has been known to host inappropriate and even pornographic content.
This messaging app is extremely popular with kids and teens, as it allows users to send disappearing photos and videos. However, Snapchat also has a number of safety concerns, including "Snap Map" which can show your child's location to anyone on their contact list. Predators can also circumvent the time limit by taking screenshots of snaps before they disappear or using a separate camera to record the video. They can then use these images or videos to blackmail or bully kids.
Instagram is a photo-sharing app that is extremely popular among young people, but it can also be dangerous. In addition to the potential for cyberbullying, Instagram also exposes users to a constant stream of ads and sponsored content. If your child’s Instagram profile is public, strangers could reach out to them through the direct messaging feature, and anyone can view their account’s content.
This video-sharing platform is one of the most popular websites in the world, with billions of users. While YouTube can be a great resource for educational and entertaining content, it's important to monitor your child's activity on the site, as there is a lot of inappropriate and even disturbing content available.
WhatsApp is a messaging app popular among kids and teens that is used to message people on an international level. While it has the potential to connect new friends and make group messaging more accessible, it also poses major safety concerns. In addition to the possibility of cyberbullying, WhatsApp also allows users to share their location with others, which can be dangerous.
If you’re wondering how to monitor your child’s online activity and guard them against danger on the internet, Guardian is for you. Guardian gives you the freedom to set screen time limits, app restrictions, and enable other helpful safety controls. Learn more about Kosciusko Connect’s Guardian network security by calling 574-269-0327.