What is WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is a popular Instant Messaging App, which is the most downloaded and used appin the world. But is it safe for your child to use? Although WhatsApp can allow you and your child to keep in contact, there are some safety concerns that arise when children use it. This blog post will discuss these concerns, and offer a solution.
WhatsApp has set the minimum age for use as 16 years old. However, children can lie about their age and gain access to WhatsApp. There are no methods to verify the age of it’s users, therefore children can easily lie about their age.
Unfortunately, like most apps used by children, cyber bullying can quickly escalate and become a major problem. Whether its one- on one or within a group chat, children can be targeted and subject to cyber bullying. Group chats are often the epicentre of WhatsApp bulling amongst kids, and children can be repeatedly added to group chats, so even if they remove themselves from the bullying, they can be added back in, and the bullying continues.
Even if your child has blocked a contact, they can still send and receive messages to/from that contact when in the same group chat. So blocking bullies may not be the solution to ending bullying on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has features which are useful for adults, however can be dangerous for children. For example, the ‘share live location’ function allows users to share their exact location to a contact. Unfortunately, children sometimes chat to strangers online, and this feature can be a threat to their online safety. As well as live location, contacts can see when you were ‘last online’, meaning that people can keep track of your child’s online activity.
Pictures and Videos
On WhatsApp, users have the ability to send receive pictures, video and audio files. There is no option to decline incoming media messages, which means your child may receive inappropriate content from contacts or group chats. Users also have the option to send media files on WhatsApp, and unfortunately children do not understand what media is appropriate and inappropriate to share with their friends.
WhatsApp messages are untraceable
WhatsApp messages are fully encrypted, meaning they cannot be viewed by anyone other than the people involved in the chat. If messages are deleted from the devices, they are gone forever. This causes concern to parents who want to know who their children have been talking to, what they have been saying and what media is being shared. Any chats can easily be deleted, meaning that children can hide cases of cyber bullying from their parents. This makes it difficult for parents to tackle the issue.
The best way to keep children safe when using WhatsApp is to control it. With iKydz, you can restrict and block access to WhatsApp. If you want to allow your children to use WhatsApp to contact you, you can set a schedule for WhatsApp- meaning that the children only have access to the app at specific times (for example, from 9am-4pm when they are at school).