WhatsApp is an application that now has more users than Twitter. The app is used by people from all over to connect with their loved ones, completely free of charge. And as one might expect, this app now has a huge user base comprising of young children as well. What these kids don’t realize is that WhatsApp, just like any other IM application that uses the internet, has some threats associated with its use. Here are some tips every parent should give to their children about the usage of WhatsApp.
1. Talk to the people you know
The most important thing to remember is to contact only those people who you know. Don’t text people who you don’t know because that will give your phone number to them as well.
2. Don’t respond to strangers
WhatsApp, being an app that uses the internet to send and receive messages, can attract a large number of online predators who are always looking to get through to young children so that they can blackmail them somehow. If an unknown number contacts you, don’t respond.
3. Block people if they are trying to bully you
If anyone is bullying or harassing you on WhatsApp, you can simply block them from the options menu. This will render the sender unable to send you any messages.
4. Change your privacy settings
One of the reasons children may get contacted by strangers is because they haven’t changed their privacy settings. Everyone can see their status updates, profile photo, and ‘last seen’ status if these settings are left to default. Make sure that your child has changed these settings to either ‘My Contacts’ or ‘Nobody’.
5. Don’t rely on public hotspots
Many children use the hotspots being provided in public places like restaurants and cafes to send their messages. You should always remember that the messages sent over these vulnerable networks can be hacked quite easily. So, unless necessary, just try not to use these hotspots for your WhatsApp conversations.
6. Don’t send private pictures
Free services like WhatsApp can cause children to start sexting with each other. This can cause problems for them if their accounts ever got hacked, which seems very easy these days. Sending personal or inappropriate pictures to someone is a very bad idea because once a picture is sent over the internet, there is no getting it back. Even if your friend doesn’t show it to the rest of the world, you can never be sure who else got their hands on it.
7. Manage your time
Many children using apps like WhatsApp get so immersed in them that they start to drift away from real life. It is important that you manage your time well. Family time is more important than chatting on WhatsApp, so are your studies and your sleep.
8. Don’t send too many messages not in your list
There may be people that you contact on WhatsApp who you know, but don’t have in your phone’s contacts. If you message such people too often, WhatsApp will take it as if you are contacting strangers and will block your account.
9. Report anything suspicious to your parents
And finally, in case something suspicious is happening to you, you must take it straight to your parents. If someone is trying to bully you or asking you for private information, it could be bad news and your parents must know about it. In the end, if you are a parent and your child doesn’t adhere to these tips, you can always use applications like mSpy, FlexiSpy, SpyBubble etc. to monitor their WhatsApp usage remotely so as to keep them safe from any potential dangers.