As our kids step into the adolescent period, it is only natural for them to use the various electronic devices and stay connected with their friends and peers through the internet service. Several texting and social media apps have been introduced in the digital world so far, letting your kids connect with others.
One of the most popular instant messaging apps is WhatsApp where lots of conversations are taking place. While we cannot stop our kids and teens from exchanging messages on this instant messaging app, what we can do is, ensure that they have enabled privacy and security settings on the app.
Just like any other platform, our kids and teens are exposed to several harmful online dangers on WhatsApp that could be menacing to their mental health. Cyberbullies, predators, and online hackers are everywhere on this app, always looking out for innocent and gullible kids to turn them into targets. Fortunately, privacy settings on the app and monitoring tools like WhatsApp spy software have helped us in ensuring our kids privacy.
As various online chat rooms and instant messaging apps are becoming crowded with hackers, predators, and cyberbullies, let’s understand how we can keep our kids and teens safe on WhatsApp.
How to Keep Kids Safe from Dangers on WhatsApp
Parents should take an initiative in keeping their kids safe on apps like WhatsApp. To do that, they need to follow some tips. Here are a few simple and quick ways to keep your kids and teens safe on instant messaging apps like WhatsApp.
Be Aware of WhatsApp Rules
Before your kids and teens decide to join WhatsApp, make sure they are old enough to use the platform for communication. In EU and EEA, users should be at least 16 years old to join the app whereas users everywhere else in the world must be at least 13 years old. Kids should also be aware of all the WhatsApp rules before they start using the instant messaging app.
Check Your Privacy Settings
Kids won’t feel threatened by strangers, stalkers, and bullies on the app if they have enabled privacy settings on WhatsApp. The good thing about WhatsApp is that it comes with predefined privacy settings for the users to feel safe on the app. These privacy settings work really well for younger ones.
You can control who can view your personal information on the app such as your profile photo, last seen, about section, status as well as live location. The app lets you choose between different options such as ‘everyone’, ‘my contacts’, or ‘nobody’.
To update your kids’ privacy settings on the app, go to settings > account > privacy.
Two-step verification acts like an additional security for most email services and social media platforms. This additional security feature keeps the account even more secure. If you want to provide your kids with an additional security, you can enable two-step verification on their WhatsApp account.
To enable two-step verification, you need a six-digit code or email address to enter at the time of verifying or registering your kid’s phone number with WhatsApp. With this feature enabled, it would be quite difficult for any other person to access your kid’s WhatsApp account.
As far as WhatsApp is concerned, it highly recommends all its users to choose an email address instead of the pin code when enabling two-step verification on their account.You can enable two-step verification, simply open settings > two-step verification > enable.
Another way to keep your kids safe from hackers, cyberbullies, and predators is to block or report unknown users whenever they come across them on WhatsApp. Young users should feel confident while blocking and reporting people on the app, especially the ones that make them feel uncomfortable.
As a parent, you need to empower your kids to realize that they have full right to not communicate with someone who they do not know or haven’t met in person. To block or report a contact on WhatsApp, simply click on the contact name and then tap report/block option.
Look Out for the Suspicious Link Indicator
Forward messages are quite common on WhatsApp. Some of those messages also comprise of web links. Though those links may look normal, sometimes they can have hidden characters right at the end of the URL that can take you to a dangerous website. These malicious links can hack your WhatsApp account or even your phone.
Fortunately, WhatsApp comes with a technology that recognizes the web links that may be potentially dangerous and will show a suspicious link indicator on top of the message. If you or your kids see this warning display, you should never open that link. The suspicious link indicator on the message will help stay a step ahead of the upcoming danger.
Avoid Suspicious Messages
Your kids will likely receive spam, hoax, and phishing messages from hackers once they get hold of their cell numbers. Through these fake messages, hackers can try to get your kids to send them personal information, conduct a payment, or collect a reward.
With cyberbullying becoming prevalent on WhatsApp chats, many online hackers pressurize or threaten kids to do something for them. If your kids receive such suspicious messages from unknown users on WhatsApp, simply encourage them to ignore, delete, and report those messages, especially if they are inappropriate or seem dangerous.
Be Careful of What to Share
Always teach your kids to be careful before sharing or forwarding anything on WhatsApp. They may receive fake, hoax, and suspicious messages comprising of links from other users. Kids should never forward those messages to someone else before verifying them. Parents should warn their kids to never forward such content that seems highly inappropriate and dangerous. Instead, they should be taught to avoid, delete, and report such messages.
Monitor Your Kid’s WhatsApp Activity
Last but not least, you can protect your kids from hackers, cyberbullies, and predators on the app by monitoring their WhatsApp conversations through a WhatsApp spy app. Mobistealth is one fine example of a WhatsApp spy app. With WhatsApp spy apps for Android and iPhone, you can remotely monitor every activity taking place on your kid’s WhatsApp. You can read the incoming and outgoing messages, view the exchanged photos and videos, and all other activity being done on the app.