Most parents would think that their kids are only obsessive about social media apps like Snapchat and TikTok. What they do not know is that they are also equally crazy about WhatsApp. They spend the majority of their time on this instant messaging app to chat privately with their friends and send and receive content in the form of photos and videos in the hopes of keeping their chats hidden from their parents.
Undoubtedly, WhatsApp comes across as a fun and exciting app for most kids and teens because they can send text messages, photos, videos, documents, GIFs, and share location with their friends. They can even have voice and video calls with others much like Apple’s FaceTime.
They just need to connect their devices to the WIFI connection, open WhatsApp on their smartphone, and start chatting away with their friends by exchanging instant messaging apps. This app is also popular among kids because they think they can have private conversations with friends.
However, what they fail to understand is that parents can still find ways around by installing a reliable and official WhatsApp spy tool on their kids’ smartphones. WhatsApp can pose serious risks to kids that they may not able to recognize in the beginning. The app can be highly dangerous for them and put them in a lot of trouble. Let’s explore more about WhatsApp, the danger lurking on the platform, and how to keep kids safe on this app.
Let’s Get to Know About WhatsApp
WhatsApp is a mobile instant messaging app that can be downloaded on the smartphone for free. The app uses the smartphone’s WIFI connection to send text messages, photos, videos, and files. It also allows the users to have both individual and group audio and video calls.
Users can use this instant messaging app and stay connected with the rest of the world by connecting their smartphones to the WIFI connection. They can save texting and calling charges by using WhatsApp for daily communication. If you want to travel abroad, you can use WhatsApp to communicate with others while avoiding expensive international calling and texting charges.
Why Are Kids Obsessed with WhatsApp?
Kids and teens are obsessed with WhatsApp because the app is free and lets them exchange unlimited chats with friends. The app does not offer any ads so this is another reason why kids find the app hassle-free.
On the other hand, kids tend to believe that they can have private conversations with friends on the app that can go unnoticed by parents. They can create group chats on the app and chat with their friends thinking their parents won’t keep a check on them.
Quite often kids meet other people on apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat and then move to WhatsApp because they feel like the app is less public and less monitored by parents. Like any other mobile app, WhatsApp can also be hidden behind vault apps to avoid detection by parents.
Another reason kids love using WhatsApp is that it also offers a web platform. The app can be downloaded as a software or desktop application on the computer and kids can continue using WhatsApp through their computers or PCs.
On WhatsApp, kids can enjoy the Status Feature and upload disappearing stories in the form of text messages, photos, videos, and GIFs, much like the story feature on Snapchat and Instagram.
WhatsApp also allows its users to share live location with others. Kids and teens can even share live location with friends and give them information about their whereabouts. In case you are wondering about how to find someone’s location by cell phone number, then you better use WhatsApp and find out the answer yourself.
How Is WhatsApp Dangerous for Kids?
WhatsApp is beneficial for kids and teens because it helps them connect and communicate with others. But, on the other hand, it can also expose them to numerous WhatsApp dangers. Most kids are not aware of these dangers and they easily become trapped. Both parents and kids need to know about these WhatsApp dangers before they can come up with ways to tackle them.
Let’s discuss common WhatsApp dangers:
Becoming exposed to inappropriate and harmful content on WhatsApp is one of the biggest concerns for parents. WhatsApp, much like any other instant messaging app, allows anyone to create a free account on the app. It is likely for kids to come across inappropriate content and exchange sexually explicit with others. They can use slang or secret language to hide risky activities on the app.
Sexual Predators and Strangers
Apps like WhatsApp are laden with sexual predators and stalkers with harmful intentions. Sexual predators can easily get contact numbers of kids and reach out to them on WhatsApp. They can lure them with sweet talks, gain their confidence, and become their close friends. Once they get close to kids, they can demand inappropriate photos and videos from them only to blackmail them later or share the content on the dark internet for a good price.
Besides sexual predators, your kids are also likely to interact with strangers on the app. Kids who are part of WhatsApp group chats think that those chats cannot be accessed by strangers as group members need a digital link to join the group. However, it is not known to many kids that group chat links can be copied by group members and then shared with anyone outside the group who can join them with just a click without any trouble.
Cyberbullying is another rising danger on WhatsApp. Bullying is not only restricted to schools and classrooms now. It is now happening on instant messaging and social media apps as well. Bullies can reach out to your kids and send them mean, hurtful, and embarrassing messages.
They can also shame or ridicule your kid in a group chat in front of several group members. Situations become really tough for kids when they are embarrassed in a group chat. Cyberbullying often leads kids to develop feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. It can also cause them to have suicidal thoughts. Often kids do not share cyberbullying experiences with anyone because they are either afraid of their parents or they cannot recognize the signs of cyberbullying.
Even though WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption for all its conversations, it still does not protect users from taking and sharing screenshots with others. Suppose your teen is having a private chat with someone on WhatsApp and the other person decides to take screenshots of that chat and shares them with others to humiliate your teen. What would your teen do about it? How would they prevent this from happening?
Another privacy-related threat on WhatsApp is the way in which the app collects data from its users. Recently, WhatsApp faced backlash after announcing one of its policies of sharing and collecting the users’ data. The new policy did not go down too well with users and most of them uninstalled the app from their devices and opted for Telegram. If WhatsApp is not able to protect your kid’s privacy, then there is no point in using this app.
It’s important to recognize the dangers of WhatsApp and then make your kids know about them as well. Educate your kids about WhatsApp dangers and tell them about different ways to keep them safe on instant messaging apps. Installing WhatsApp spy iPhone or Android app on your kid’s smartphone can also help you monitor your kid’s WhatsApp usage and keep a check on their private conversations.