Trying to stay up-to-date with all the apps your kids are downloading and using on a daily basis can be an exhausting task. However, rather than trying to police specific apps, it’s more important to focus on the app’s features themselves. By knowing which apps include the below features, you can more easily educate and monitor your child’s app activity.
In short, nothing good can come from an app that allows its users to be anonymous. With apps like After School, Yik Yak, Whisper and more, the approach of anonymity should put up a lot of red flags. I even wrote about three anonymous apps that should scare your school recently for that purpose alone. Parents need to know that any apps that include this feature should be a no go for your students. Nothing good can come from people not being held accountable for their actions online. This is the foundation of cyberbullying.
Features that collect location data are usually pretty sneaky about it. It’s not too often that an app will straight up tell you it’s collecting data about where you are and when. Though, it’s been discovered that Apple’s own iOS does just this (here’s how to turn it off). Parents should be concerned about location information for one significant reason: it affects the safety of your student. If an app can know where they are, than anyone who can access that information can know exactly where your student is at any time. The good news is that parents can educate their children on how to restrict location data being collected in the settings of your phone’s operating system. By restricting location data, the apps may not work as well, but at least you know no one has that important information about your student.
The in-app purchase has been the bread and butter for apps making revenue of late. Gone are the days of paying $.99 to download and here are the days of paying small amounts to further yourself along in games and more. The trouble with in-app purchases is that if a student doesn’t understand how it works, it could mean a major headache for you as a parent and the owner of the cell phone bill or iTunes account. Micro-payments within these apps are usually charged directly to your account, so educating students on what those features are and that they aren’t free is a necessity.
At the end of the day, it can be really hard to police all your student’s app usage, but you can definitely speak to them about features they should be aware of on a daily basis.