Tablets + Parents: Keeping Kids Safe
A special report was written last December 2012 that app developers for many gadgets such as smartphones and tablets lack the necessary protection that should be given in apps that are directed towards the very young audience. The Federal Trade Commission had called the attention of giant app developers such as Apple and Google over the "little progress toward giving parents the information” with regards to the data that are collected from their children and to whom and where they are distributed to. What is worse is the new trend of in-app development on social media connections make it harder for the app developers themsleves to track the online transactions the children made.
How Should Parents Monitor This Problem?
1. Perform A Background Check.
This step is the most simple and should be the first step when choosing an app for children. Since other parents are usually the ones getting the app for their own children, then reading previous comments and reviews regarding the app should be one of their biggest concern. Since most parents are very particular of what they give to their children, a vocal list of reviews should be available for most of kid’s apps. The good thing about reading reviews is that it gives undecided parents a vicarious experience of using the applications without the risk of their kids being put in danger.
2. Not Everything is “Free”
The FTC had already called out a warning against most of the ad-supported apps since they generated a massive amount of information being shared to other third-party monitors. Parents should buy apps that range between $1.99 to $6.99 to ensure that there is no fraud and less privacy risks involved with online developers. Though this may sound “pricey” for a children’s app, its cost is definitely worth it and is usually less than buying kid’s books and toys.
3. Go for Fixed-priced Apps
Parents should never be scammed on getting “free” applications for their kids only to pay a much higher price in the end. There are many types of apps like these out in the market today that work by creating parental guilt. These apps let children enjoy the free products that come with the app but later on announce add-ons to make the app experience better by purchasing additional products or customization for a price. This creates a pattern for the child which will lead to an overgrowth of such necessity to buy new items from the app developers. To avoid this kind of scheme, it is better for parents to go for apps that have fixed-prices and free updates.
4. Too Young To Share
Although social sharing is a common and fun thing to do, young children should not be allowed to have their personal things and activities posted for the world to see. Of course this essence will change as the children will get older, however, children 10 years old and below are too young of an age to be engaged in the wide social activities of a mostly adult-run phenomena.
5. Set Online Limits
As setting “walled” activities on online ventures is a fairly new thing, more and more platforms are engaging in this security feature for application and tablet developers today. Setting a time limit or the capabilities on what children can do on their tablets is a good way to avoid them from going into risky places online. The developers of the Android and iOS apps are now targeting this capability for their products to better satisfy the qualms of hands-on iparenting.
6. Finally, Be A Parent
The most basic thing that parents can do when their children are often engaged in playing with apps is to be with them and provide parental guidance and support. “Play” with the kids and make the experience fun and engaging for everyone. If any problem arise from the app that may be too technical or inappropriate for their age, quickly remove it from the situation and explain why such actions have to be undertaken.