Gen-next is obsessed with instant messaging apps. Gone are the days when people used to exchange text messages using the traditional SMS method. As time passed and technology advanced, instant messaging apps were introduced in the market, helping people exchange text messages in less time.
Undoubtedly, there are many potential positives to using WhatsApp but we cannot ignore the potential risks the app can pose for kids and teens. Parents think social media apps like Snapchat and TikTok are potentially dangerous for kids but even instant messaging apps like WhatsApp are equally dangerous for them.
Kids prefer using WhatsApp because they can exchange chats in private with others. Also, they hope that their parents won’t take notice of this app as they assume apps like Snapchat and TikTok need more monitoring. Parents need to pay the utmost attention to their WhatsApp activity as well. Let’s discuss some of the potential WhatsApp dangers for kids.
Introduction to WhatsApp
We know that you are already familiar with WhatsApp. This app lets you make audio and video calls and exchange text messages, photos, videos, GIFs, documents, etc. with others using your phone’s internet connection (WIFI). Using the app, you can make real-time video calls with others as much as you like.
If you have a WIFI connection, then you can enjoy exchanging messages on the app for completely free. If someone is a frequent international traveler, he/she can benefit from the app because it lets them send and receive messages without paying any expensive international calling charges.
What Makes Kids Obsessed with WhatsApp?
Kids are obsessed with WhatsApp because they think it’s easy, fun, and completely free. The app lets kids make audio and video calls to their friends without any fees or limitations. They can exchange text messages, audio notes, photos, and videos with others for free. Plus, the app is ad-free which makes texting even more exciting for kids.
Another reason why kids prefer using WhatsApp Messenger is that they can send and receive messages from others without their parents knowing. They think that their parents won’t bother to monitor their WhatsApp messages. For kids, WhatsApp is a better instant messaging app than Snapchat or Instagram because they feel it is less public and less monitored by parents.
WhatsApp also offers a web application that lets users enjoy the features of the app on their PCs. Those kids that do not have the liberty to use their cell phones all the time can switch to their PCs to chat with their friends on the WhatsApp web. The app also lets them send a message to more than one user in a chat. This refers to the group chat where they can receive messages from a group of people in the same chat room.
Another reason kids opt for this app instead of other instant messaging apps is that it offers built-in end-to-end encryption. This means all the messages that are exchanged on the app between users are encrypted. WhatsApp hack may seem impossible because the messages are encrypted.
Kids assume conversations on the app are secure and cannot be read by anyone, especially their parents. This gives them a sense of privacy and security as they think their chats are safe on the app. However, that is completely untrue. Just like other apps, even WhatsApp is vulnerable to scams, hacks, and breaches.
What are the Potential WhatsApp Dangers for Kids?
Most kids think that their chats are completely secure and hidden from everyone on WhatsApp. However, it’s not like that. Despite having end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp is susceptible to hacks. Also, this messaging app poses potential risks for kids. Let’s understand how kids can put themselves in danger while using WhatsApp.
While using WhatsApp, kids can, consciously and unconsciously, come across several dangers. First and foremost, they can be exposed to inappropriate content and exchange adult content containing explicit photos and videos with others. As with any other social media app, kids will use slang language or acronyms to hide risky behavior.
The second most dangerous aspect for kids on WhatsApp is the stranger danger. WhatsApp is used by almost every person, both good and bad. People with bad intentions are also present on this platform, in search of innocent victims. They target kids because they are innocent and are easy to be lured into fake online relationships.
Strangers with evil intentions can target young kids to obtain personal information or demand inappropriate content from them. They can use the content to blackmail kids and their families and demand money from them. What’s worse, they can also sell the content to the dark web for a hefty amount.
Another potential danger of WhatsApp for kids is cyberbullying. This danger has become rampant in online communities and social media platforms. Bullies target kids on messaging apps so they can send them harmful, humiliating, and embarrassing messages. Most cyberbullying incidents take place in group chats on WhatsApp. As group chats are one of the reasons kids use WhatsApp, they can come across many messages that can hurt them.
WhatsApp indeed protects all of its conversations because they are encrypted. However, it does not protect kids from users taking and sharing screenshots of their conversations. While exchanging intimate details with their friends on WhatsApp, kids often forget that the same friends can take screenshots of those chats and share with others when something goes wrong in their relationship and they turn against them. This is another biggest threat for kids on WhatsApp.
It’s important to teach kids about WhatsApp dangers so they can stay away from them while using the app. Parents can also use parental monitoring apps like Mobistealth to perform WhatsApp hack conversation. That way they can supervise all the chats their kids are having on the app.
Not just WhatsApp, parents can monitor all other social media and instant messaging apps by installing a monitoring app on their kid’s device. You can only save your kids from online dangers if you are aware of their online activities.