Is your kid spending too much time texting their friends on WhatsApp? Do you often find them glued to their smartphones, engaged in having a group conversation with their friends on the app? Well, if that’s the case, you need to start monitoring their WhatsApp with the help of an iPhone or Android spy app before it’s too late.
Kids and smartphones have become inseparable these days. The amount of time they spend on instant messaging and social media apps is far more than they spend on their studies and extracurricular activities.
There is no harm letting your kids spend time online, especially on social media platforms, but you need to ensure they are not surrounded by any online dangers. Several online dangers are found lurking on instant messaging and social media apps including WhatsApp.
What Dangers Lurk on WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is one of the most popular instant messaging apps that allow users to send text messages, photos, videos, documents, voice notes, GIFs, etc. in individual as well as group chats with their contacts.
Users can also share their live location for up to eight hours with one contact or in a group chat. Now, think about your kids using this instant messaging app. They can share their photos, videos, text messages as well as other files with other users on WhatsApp. What’s more, they can also share their location with others and update them about their current whereabouts.
Experts are of the view that there are several risks and dangers lurking on WhatsApp. Online threats like cyberbullying, sexting, pedophilia, pornography, violence, etc. are commonly found on this instant messaging app. These threats can pose some serious harm to your kids. Therefore, being parents, you must protect your kids from these dangers at all costs.
Things to Know About WhatsApp
WhatsApp has some features that most parents are unaware of. Before allowing your kids to use the app and spend most of their time on it, make sure you know everything about the app, especially its features and the potential dangers lurking on it.
Kids Can Have Private or Group Chats
On WhatsApp, your kids can have a private or group chat with up to 256 people. In a group chat, any person can be invited to join by a person who has the admin rights. This means your kid could be added to a group chat on WhatsApp with people they don’t even know.
From the group chat, any person could get your kid’s phone number and add it to their contact list. Then, they can send them a private message separately. If your kid receives a message from an unknown number, make sure you block the number from their app.
Kids Can Have Video Chats
Your kids can have a video chat with up to eight persons on WhatsApp. When your kid is having a video chat with someone on the app, your kid or the other person can bring in more people in the video chat. This means your kid might be in a group video chat with people who they don’t know or haven’t met.
When your kid is invited to join a group video chat on the app, their screen will show them the people who are currently on the video call. It is important to tell your kid to never answer the call if they see people or numbers they have no idea about. If your kid finds anything inappropriate or upsetting during the call, you need to remind them that they can exit the video chat any time and inform an adult about it.
Kids Can Share Personal Information
As we have mentioned before, your kid can share text messages, photos, videos, voice messages, documents, phone contacts as well as their live location with others on WhatsApp. Your kid can share their personal information with others including their live location.
The app allows your kid to share their live location for fifteen minutes up to eight hours. Your kids can also forward messages from their conversation to other users. This means even others can forward your kids’ messages to others on the app. For instance, if your kid has accidentally or consciously sent their inappropriate photos to someone on WhatsApp, there is a high chance that the recipient might forward them to others. This is how kids are blackmailed and bullied online.
As a parent, it is your responsibility to be well-informed of all the features offered by WhatsApp. You also need to talk to your kid about what they can share and what not while they are online. There are some useful tips to keep your kids protected on the app. Let’s quickly go through them.
Block Unknown Users
If your kid has come into contact with someone on WhatsApp who they don’t know or haven’t met in person, they should immediately block them on the app. If someone tries to send them inappropriate messages on the app, they need to immediately report or block that contact.
Change Who Can See Your Kid’s Personal Information
You can also change who can see your kid’s personal information on WhatsApp. In the settings, under the privacy section, you can change who can see your kid’s personal information, including their profile picture.
By doing this, you can allow only those people to access your kid’s personal information who they know. You need to make sure that your kid’s profile picture and status on WhatsApp is only visible to their phone contacts or nobody at all. This will help in keeping their identity hidden from people they don’t know.
Teach Your Kid What to Share and What to Avoid
You can teach your kid about what they should share and what not while using WhatsApp. They need to understand what is appropriate to share and what should be avoided.
You should teach them what sort of things they can share online and to what extent they can be shared. Also, help them understand what sort of things shouldn’t be shared online. For example, they should never share their contact number or photos with anyone they don’t know.
Allow Your Kid to Come and Talk to You
You also need to explain to your kid that the internet is a great place to learn, communicate, and explore many new things. However, it does have a dark side too that can be harmful to them. You need to allow your kid to come to you whenever they experience anything bad online and talk to you about it.
You need to make your kid comfortable around you so that they can come to you any time and discuss their problems with you. If your kids are scared of you or feel hesitant while opening up to you, you need to make them feel comfortable around you. You need to reassure them that you won’t overreact if they have done something wrong. Instead, you will protect them.
Install a Parental Control or Monitoring App
Last but not least, you can protect your kid from harmful dangers on WhatsApp by monitoring their chats and entire activity with the help of a monitoring or parental control app. Several spy apps for Android and iPhone are available that can help you monitor your kid’s online activity. Make sure you install one on your kid’s device.