What Is WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is a cell phone messaging app owned by Facebook. It is used all over the world, and in some countries, it is one of the most popular forms of direct messaging. It’s incredibly easy to use, as a user can add people directly from their phone’s contacts to start instant messaging right away.
WhatsApp is used by people to send and receive messages, video calls, photos, videos, and voice messages. It is a great app to use for group chats. If you plan on using this app for your family or just your child, ensure that the app is compatible with their device and review the below parental controls.
WhatsApp Parental Controls
There are millions of WhatsApp users around the world, many of whom are kids or teens. Of course parents want to make sure their kids are safe while they are using the messaging app. Certain settings that are enabled by default on the app may not be the best for those who are underage. Internet communications can have unexpected dangers for kids, so it’s important for parents to utilize these parental controls.
Blocking WhatsApp Accounts
If there is someone that a child has messaged on WhatsApp that the parent or child wants to block, they can go into their Settings and choose Account → Privacy. Next choose Blocked and add whichever Whatsapp account you want to block on the account. This will prevent the child from being contacted or contacting that user via the app. This is a great feature if there is someone attempting to contact the child without the parents permission.
Live Location is a feature on WhatsApp that shows other users where that WhatsApp user currently is on a live map. This feature is one most parents don’t want their kids using, as anyone who is friends with them on the app would be able to see their exact location at any moment. To turn off the feature, go to Settings → Account → Privacy → Live Location. Here, the parent can remove people from being able to see their child’s location.
Visible Public Information
WhatsApp gives parents the ability to turn off certain information from being shared with other users. To do so, go to Settings → Account → Privacy. Then, you can adjust what information is visible to the public on the child’s account. Options regarding visibility include:
- Last Seen: Tells other users when the person was last using the account.
- Profile Photo: Shows the account’s profile picture.
- About: Lets other users view the account’s bio.
- Status: Enables users to tell other users what they are currently doing, similar to what is done on social media apps.
Conversations With Strangers
One good thing about WhatsApp for parents is that it is difficult for a child to get into contact with strangers on the app. For a child to contact someone on the app, they need to be added as a contact on the child’s device.
Screen Time Settings
If a parent does not want their child to have WhatsApp, they can block access to the app entirely from the App Store or Google Play (depending on your child’s device). On iOS devices, use the Screen Time restrictions available in settings to block and limit WhatsApp. Other operating systems have similar features.
Keeping Kids Safe On WhatsApp
WhatsApp is a messaging app that has millions of users all around the world. Users are able to send voice messages, video calls, pictures and videos, and text messages. There are a lot of teens using the app to communicate with their friends, so it is important for parents to remember that there are built-in parental controls that they can use to help keep them safe.