Now that the holidays are over and 2019 is well on its way, I wanted to take a moment to discuss how parents know if an app is appropriate for your child to use and if they should have access to it. Apps are forever changing and it's important for parents to know what is on their child's device and how they are using it. This applies to their personal devices and school devices. Many apps can seem harmless, fun and exciting, but can also be dangerous if not used appropriately. Before allowing your child to download a new app on their phone or tablet, use these steps to help ensure their safety.
Parents- download the app first! Take a look around and see what your child is being exposed to. Look for adult content and language. If you notice songs with explicit language or sexual references in the songs-this may not be an app that you want your child to have access to.
Set a password before downloading apps. Many app stores have the capability for you to set a parent code to allow downloads to take place. Keep this password private so your child can't download anything without permission.
Check age requirement- All apps have an age requirement listed before downloading. Many apps such as Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, and the WhatsApp all have an age requirement of 16 years old or older. Mainly due to the fact that the content that is shared on the app can be explicit or for mature audiences.
Communication- How are your children communicating with others? Who has access to their information? Are you able to see what type of conversations are taking place? Can their accounts be set to private? Who are they friends with? Many apps such as Snapchat, the messages are automatically deleted after so many hours. So it's harder to see what messages or videos have been shared and who they have shared them with.
Check browser history- When is last time you checked their browser history? The browser history allows you to see what things they are searching. Did you know that even Youtube will allow you to see recent searches? I would highly recommend doing this at least twice a month.