Parental Advice On Selecting Which Apps Your Kids Should Download and Use From App Stores
In all honesty, you cannot deny your kids access to mobile phones. Smartphones and tablets are increasingly becoming the mainstream tool for consuming digital media and learning; marking the dawn of the mobile-age and the end of the compute-age.
Computers have been around for quite some time and most parents are up to speed on dangers lurking in cyber space. Most parents already enforce parental control over which sites their kids visit to ensure everyone’s online safety and peace of mind.
But with the advent of mobile devices, most parents are not as cautious as they are with desktop PCs and laptops. Majority deem smartphones to be less dangerous; but it has been said that we now walk around with more computing power in our pockets than the first astronaut to land on the moon had.
As a parent you should be just as concerned with your child’s online safety on their mobile devices as you are when they are on desktop computers and laptops. According to comScore report, 52% of the time users are on their mobile devices, they are using an app for one reason or the other. Apps are increasingly becoming the popular way of consuming digital media and accessing online services, ranging from learning, gaming, and other useful online services.
App stores have millions of apps readily available for downloads and more are being added every day. As a parent, are you ready to let your kid download an app that will publicly share your home address and contact details?
Probably not, so it’s upon you to monitor what your kids download and use while they are on their mobile phones. Unless of course you opt to deny your kids, complete access to mobile phones; good luck with that!
If you opt to monitor your kid’s phone, here are some tips to help you be good at it. If your kids are going to download apps, you might as well be the one shopping for apps on their behalf.
Parental Advice on downloading apps:
- Never judge an app by its name: There are many apps that sound the same; some ‘bad’ apps disguise themselves by having a ‘good’ name, (putting in mind, the subject here is a kid) Take for instance, iReading – Little Red Riding Hood and Little Red Riding Hood StoryChimes. The former has a lot of violence and cruelty while the worst that ever happens in the later is someone ends up tied up. As a parent it’s your job to triple-check the name before its downloaded to your kid’s device.
- Make sure multiplayer games are secure: There are apps that allow your kids to play with other players through the internet. Triple check to see whether such games can lead to your kid sharing their address or contact information through that game. The other player on the other end could be a creep, clever enough to manipulate sensitive information from your kid.
- Be wary of Ads: Developers are looking for ways to make money. Some could sell any ads through their app. Leading up to kids stumbling into an in-game purchase, product placement, contest and other innovative marketing campaigns. Be on the lookout for ads and educate your kids on being ad-savvy.
- Limit the downloads: Apps vary in prices ranging from free to as much as $15. You can limit the amount your kid can spend on downloading apps by setting enabling parental control feature to block your kid from accessing downloads sites.
- Be a keen shopper: In the app store, democracy rules. You can find adult apps side-by-side with kids’ apps. It upon you as a parent to read the descriptions, look at the screenshots and read the reviews for each and every app your want on your kid’s phone.
- How expensive is free? There those apps that comes in free and premium version. You might think you are being financially smart by going for the free version, but you might soon discover the app has many ads. Some of which you do not want your kid to see. You are better off spending some few dollars on the premium version that has no ads.
You should also have a sit-down with your kids and make them understand the dangers lurking online. You are better-off making them want not to go to unsafe places online, than trying to restrict them. That will only make them curious, and event want more to visit such sites.
This is the hardest part, talking to your teenage kid. Sure they can be rebellious, secretive, driven by one purpose in life; to do the complete opposite of what you tell them. But the stakes are high, you must find a way to break the ice and have a constructive sit-down with them and help them stay safe online and offline.