It’s no secret that kids love using apps. In fact, a recent study showed that kids under the age of eight spend an average of two hours and 19 minutes per day on mobile devices, while teens spend over seven hours per day. That’s a lot of screen time!
As a parent, it’s vital to be aware of the most popular apps your kids use. Some are age-appropriate sources of fun, while others contain hidden dangers.
There are four main app categories parents should know.
Social media apps are hotter than ever, allowing kids to stay in the loop with their pals while providing an abundance of entertainment. However, they can also be a breeding ground for cyberbullying if not used properly. Take care with apps like Hoop and Facebook to stay safe online.
Messaging apps have become the go-to for kids to chat with friends, but there’s a downside– these services can facilitate cyberbullying and other unsavory behaviors by allowing strangers to chat your kids up without your knowledge. WhatsApp, iMessage, Kik, and Discord are just some of the many available.
Kids and adults alike are flocking to gaming apps, but it’s important for parents to be mindful that not all of them are age appropriate. While there are plenty of fun options like Fortnite or Clash of Clans out there, they may contain virtual violence, sexual content or costly in-app purchases.
Photo and video-sharing apps lead the pack in trending social media. Commonly seen as ‘kid favorites’, these platforms let young users take pictures or record videos to share with friends, but they aren’t the only ones that can see them. Unfortunately, many popular photo & video sharing outlets like Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube and Instagram give strangers unfettered access to kids and can harbor inappropriate content for impressionable eyes (and ears) to stumble across.
Regardless of the apps kids use, parents need to talk to them about how to stay safe online. It’s essential for parents to review these and other apps with their kids to ensure they know how to recognize and report threats. For basic tips on social media safety for all ages, visit www.oecfiber.com/social-safety to learn more.
Apps are a major source of entertainment for kids and teens. Whether sharing the latest and greatest with their friends on their phones or fighting the invading hoard on their tablets, apps are used daily for good and ill. It’s up to us to make sure it’s not the latter.