WhatsApp is becoming a serious concern for most parents now. Gone are the days when WhatsApp was considered a relatively safer social media platform for children. Many schools and parents are increasingly reporting that the platform has become a cause of many problems for children. This is why most parents are now resorting to a WhatsApp spy app for Android or iOS devices.
In this post, we would like to bring sufficient information into the notice of parents and caretakers to ensure they are aware of all the risks associated with WhatsApp, and also discuss steps that can be taken to reduce these risks.
Before we move on with discussing the concerns parents have with WhatsApp, let us first explain what this instant messaging and social media app is all about.
What is WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is a free instant messaging app that allows you to send and receive text and multimedia messages in the form of photos, videos, and voice recordings to and from people in your mobile phone’s contact list.
This messaging app also allows users to create a group chat where the administrator of the group can invite more than 20 people to exchange messages, photos, and videos publicly within the group. Even though WhatsApp has set an age limit of 16 for people to join the platform, children falling below this age bracket still have also become a part of it.
In fact, WhatsApp has become quite popular among young children and teens. They have suspended using standard text messaging service and shifted to WhatsApp because it’s free, convenient, and allows them to send messages in an instant.
However, several risks are associated with this app that parents must be aware of. Your child may be exposed to online dangers lurking on the platform and chances are, you would have no idea about that. To save your child from stumbling upon these risks, it is recommended to monitor their WhatsApp activity.
Why Should Parents Be Concerned About WhatsApp?
We have listed down some important reasons why parents should be concerned about their kids spending too much time on WhatsApp. Let us take a look at them in a snapshot.
- Your children could be a part of WhatsApp groups they have no idea about. The administrators of such sinister groups may not have innocent intentions. They could be sexual predators and share inappropriate messages on those groups to distract children.
- Some administrators of the WhatsApp groups may share messages and multimedia files which can cause extreme distress to children. These might include sexually explicit content, abusive and threatening text messages or violent photos and videos.
- WhatsApp also helps in spreading chain messages. Such messages put pressure on children to share the message with their contacts by claiming that failure to do so can result in the death of someone in their family. Many children find such messages upsetting but they are left with no option but to share them with others due to the fear of the threat.
- Another serious concern associated with WhatsApp is that it does not let users decide whether they want to join a particular group. Your child will be automatically added to any groups that their phone contacts add them to. Even if your child tries to abandon the group and leave it, the admin can bring them back on it.
- Your child may be a part of such WhatsApp groups where a huge number of posts are shared daily. The alerts of continuous messages being exchanged in these groups can cause unnecessary disturbance for your children and can disrupt their sleep patterns.
- By default, WhatsApp has a privacy setting that allows any person to see your child’s profile photo and when they were last active/online on the messaging app. These settings need to be changed quickly once your child joins WhatsApp.
- “Dare games” on WhatsApp have become quite popular among children. These games involve children to create online quizzes and answer questions about themselves so they can share with others. This can lead to oversharing of personal information that may involve the risk of becoming viral way too soon.
- WhatsApp allows any user to add your child on the platform given they have your child’s mobile phone number.
- Cyberbullying is quite common on WhatsApp as it allows bullies to easily target their victims on the app and send them abusive or threatening messages.
While it’s true that WhatsApp poses several online risks for your children, you cannot ask your child to simply stop using the platform. Instead of putting an end to their WhatsApp usage, you can enable privacy settings on their WhatsApp account.
Besides enabling privacy settings on the app, you can also consider installing WhatsApp spy apps for Android and iOS devices belonging to your children. These apps will help you monitor every WhatsApp activity taking place on your child’s device without them knowing.
WhatsApp monitoring apps enable you to keep tabs on all the messages your child has been exchanging with others on the app. By monitoring their WhatsApp chats, you can be alert of your child’s interactions and find out whether or not they are chatting with someone having ulterior motives.