How to Tell if an App or Website is Safe for Your Kids

Article specially written for Kiddoware.Com By: Felicity Amber

Today’s unprecedented boom of mobile applications and websites is one of the most obvious indicators of how technology is changing the world. Smartphones have invaded even smart homes, with parents struggling to keep up with their kids who always seem to be harping on about new mobile games or exciting new websites.

Maryville University highlights how this demand for mobile applications is expected to skyrocket as technologies and the industries fueled by them become more advanced over time. Pretty soon, your little ones will be asking you for the latest kiddie-sized VR headsets or hippest digital dance mats — oh wait, VR headsets for kids already exist. With these developments comes additional risks and threats for you and your children.

The dangers of the Internet and online interactions are boundless and can run deep in both subtle and obvious ways. For instance, advertisers use popular influencers on social media sites like Instagram and YouTube to target tweens and kids while simultaneously collecting data they can use for personalized ads. Additionally, some things online are not what they seem, and certain links may lead to harmful messages or images. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to avoid these dangers hidden in plain sight — we’ve listed some of them below.

Watch out for malware

Tech Jury reveals that an estimated 175 billion applications are downloaded every year, with each person having an average of 80 apps on their phone. Out of the huge number of apps being downloaded annually, there’s a fraction that definitely contain malware that can damage your phone, steal personal information, or even take photos of your kids while they use it.

Be cautious about these malwares and get apps from trusted vendors. Likewise, try to only visit websites with reliable sources who have a long history of providing safe and kid-friendly content.

Read the fine print

Sometimes an app or a website doesn’t even need malware to access your personal data, as you may unknowingly be giving it up yourself. The box you often tick that says “I agree,” might hold more weight than you think.

Avoid falling into permission traps by reading the fine print and actually inspecting the user agreements. Apps and websites should not have access to anything unrelated to what they’re used for, and they definitely shouldn’t know your location if you’re not even using them. Only download apps and access websites that have a clear and justifiable user privacy notice, as these are the ones likely abiding by privacy and data protection laws.

Check reviews

The great thing about the Internet is that it allows consumers to give immediate and public feedback for others to see. This makes it easy for you to check what other kids, or more importantly, what other parents are saying about a certain app or website.

Be wary about fake reviews posted by bots or paid users. It’s easy to pick out which reviews are fake and which are real once you get used to sifting through lots of them, as some will just stand out as being more genuine than others.

All in all, it is possible to keep your little ones safe when using apps and websites through monitoring them properly. Keep in mind that on top of all of these tips, you should be limiting how often they access phones and computers. A study from the University of Calgary found that too much screen time for children contributes to slower development, as well as possible behavioral issues down the line. Smart parents know that they should not get totally carried away by smart tech, as they are aware of the consequences of excessive and unsupervised screen time for kids. Instead, they carve out time for real world face-to-face interactions, which are not only invaluable for children’s emotional and mental development, but are also guaranteed to be free of malwares and fake reviews.

Article specially written for Kiddoware.Com

By: Felicity Amber

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