6 Tips for Monitoring the Apps Your Children Use

September 18, 2017


A guide for parents who are worried about online privacy and cyber-bullying."

Whether parents like it or not, technology is a major part of life for the modern teenager (and pre-teen). The good news is that when wielded correctly, gadgets and applications can make a positive impact on your child’s life, both socially and educationally.

The bad news is that some apps can make them vulnerable to bullying. The New York Times recently published a guide for parents who are worried about apps. Here are the highlights:

  1. Be careful with video-messaging apps like Marco Polo, House Party, and FireChat. While many of these apps are touted as “closed systems,” the fact that friends can invite friends means your child might receive messages from a stranger.

  2. Be wary of Yellow. The “Tinder for teens” lets children swipe left or right to make new friends, but it includes a geo-locator, doesn’t verify the age of users, and “it’s not hard to wreak havoc with a false profile using a real schoolmate’s name.”

  3. “Anonymous” apps aren’t always anonymous. Just because users are anonymous doesn’t mean they can’t spread rumors or attack schoolmates by name.

  4. “Ephemeral” apps don’t leave a bullying paper trail. If someone harrasses your child on Snapchat or Live.ly, you won’t have any proof once the message disappears in a few hours.

  5. Watch out for Instagram imposter accounts. Bullies will sometimes create a fake account in someone else’s name, then post embarrassing photos or comments. Luckily, Instagram will take these down if they’re reported.

  6. Considering using a monitoring app. Tools like Bark, Limitly and Track Kidz let you keep an eye on your child’s app behavior.

Read the full story at the New York Times for more advice. Also, see our previous story, “How to Keep Your Family Safe Online.”