With a considerable growth and development of the smartphone and digital media technology, text messaging apps have turned out to be a strong force. These apps offer superior features to your standard SMS like media sharing, relatable emojis, ‘tap and hold’ voice messages and the option to share stuff to other media devices directly through your app. Attach a received file to your email or send it over to Facebook through a single touch on your IM app.
This ease of communication has done pretty well for the bullies and predators out there too. Because it makes your child all the more accessible to them…
WhatsApp—it’s More Famous than You Think!
WhatsApp has recently announced 700 million active monthly users. The infographic below explains just enough about WhatsApp.
This fast and easy to set-up application is expected be a more preferable text messaging tool that to SMS. An average WhatsApp user sends 1267 messages, receives 2267, uploads 40 photos, 13 voice and 7 video messages on a daily basis. And needlessly to say, your children probably use it just as much.
It’s not as Safe as You Think!
But obviously, when it’s so accessible that anyone could use it, there is a good chance it paves way for unwanted people on your kid’s phone. I have scrutinized a few WhatsApp features which can offer a chance to bullies and stalkers to get onto your nerves and serve some intimidation.
Do you have a gang of your own at school? Make a chat room on WhatsApp and share all your media stuff, texts and gossip. But if someone adds you in a random chatroom, no permissions are taken. So by the time you will open the chat to leave the conversation, the bullies might have already done their deed. There is a thin line between fun and harassment. And you do not want your child to be pulled into a group chat just to be mocked. That’s what you need to look out for as a parent.
Address Book Synchronization
This feature allows for phone contacts to automatically synch to WhatsApp server. Like I said before, a feature like this has its pros and cons. It provides the convenience of pin-free address book to add someone but it also allows anyone to visit your WhatsApp profile. You cannot add or block the other person unless he sends you a text. So it is very likely that your child is visible to the stalker!
Do you remember the last time you checked if WhatsApp automatically backed up your text messages? Your OTT (Over-the-top) messages are already synchronized to the WhatsApp database. Bas Bosschert mentioned on his blog that every application can access WhatsApp database even though their data is encrypted. Prior to that, WhatsApp didn’t encrypt their database. This means you need the precise amount of care before you share something personal. Epiphany for parents who hardly oversee how their children are using their smartphones. Educating your children for a safer smartphone experience is important and necessary precautions will ensure that! Try using a parental control app that can access your child’s WhatsApp messages through a cloud server.
Detox Your Senses
Most of our worries will vanish if we take some time off our phone screens. A little breather would ensure that we are not tech-slaves. Is your kid showing signs of IM addiction? Time to put down WhatsApp, then!