App is short for application. From news apps to timetable apps to game apps to pure fun or nonsense apps - there's nothing that doesn't exist. Children are quickly fascinated by the possibilities that smartphones and tablets offer. The responsibility for which apps the child ultimately uses lies in the hands of the parents. In most cases, they are the ones who give their child access to the mobile device in the first place and download the apps.
Which apps are particularly popular with young people? Above all, those with which they can exchange information and communicate. These include WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, for example. Depending on the app, they can send or publish short messages, pictures, videos, smileys or voice messages. Photos and videos can be alienated and creatively edited with filters. Teens should think carefully about what content they share on these apps and always be careful not to reveal too much private information.
By showing interest, you can support your child in using apps. Let your child explain the app to you and thereby show openness to this topic. Trust is the best basis for preventing problems together and eliminating them when they occur.
Before you install an app, you should consider certain aspects.
Only obtain apps from the official app stores.
For smartphones with an Android operating system, you can block the setting "Install unknown apps" in the settings under "Apps and notifications" and there under "Special app access". Even with official app stores, you should check the desired app carefully in advance. Keep in mind that the popularity of an app does not say anything about the security or reliability of the provider. Further tips and information can be found in our klicksafe app check.
Check carefully, whether or which costs are incurred.
There are different business models for free apps, such as apps in a "lite version" with limited content or purely ad-financed apps. Free of charge therefore does not always mean that costs cannot be incurred! Many "free apps" offer to purchase additional functions through in-app purchases or display advertisements for paid offers. In addition, clicking on an advertisement can lead to websites that are problematic for children and young people.
Pay attention to data protection!
In most cases, users of free apps pay with their personal data. Many apps access sensitive data on the smartphone (contacts, photos, etc.) or are allowed to perform certain functions (location data, etc.). Depending on the operating system and version, the permissions are displayed when the app is used for the first time or can be denied to the app even later. In any case, the permissions should match the functions of the app. It is often unclear how apps further utilize this data and whether they may also pass on or sell this to third parties. This data is often evaluated in order to display the most suitable advertisements possible. Therefore, check the access rights of apps with your child before downloading and take a look at the general terms and conditions (GTC).
Pay attention to the protection of minors!
To prevent children from being exposed to inappropriate app content, it is best to test the apps in advance and accompany the child while playing. Obtaining the apps should be the parents' business. For this purpose, it is advisable to set up a PIN for app purchases. In the Google Play and Apple app stores, the USK rating is displayed next to the app. However, the app download does not check how old the user actually is. Parents can use the parental control settings in the stores to allow or block apps according to the age rating. In addition, further device-based protective measures can be taken.
Not every app that seems suitable for children at first glance is recommendable for children. Some apps also harbor risks. Whether certain apps are suitable for your child depends above all on how old your child is, what preferences he or she has, and what knowledge or experience he or she has already gained in dealing with digital offerings. You can use the following points as a guide.
An app suitable for children ...
- is non-violent and only presents content that is appropriate for its age.
- has a simple structure, is easy to use, uses a child-friendly approach and does not use too much text.
- stimulates your child's imagination and curiosity.
- refrains from advertising and links to social networks, advertising sites, app stores or other offers not suitable for children.
- does not offer the possibility to buy paid extensions (e.g. of special game items that can be bought directly from the app, so-called in-app purchases).
- is best used without an Internet connection.