The Danger of Children Downloading Apps

Apps are part of our lives and also those of children. But we must avoid the dangers of children downloading apps that can be inappropriate.
The Danger of Children Downloading Apps
María José Roldán

Written and verified by the psychopedagogue María José Roldán.

Last update: 09 April, 2023

From a very young age, children start using new technologies for both entertainment and learning. In this sense, apps can be great tools for any child or teenager. However, there’s also the danger of children downloading apps on their own, as many of them aren’t appropriate for their age.

That’s why we want to talk to you about this important issue, both for parents and for the little ones at home. Keep in mind that you need to keep certain things in mind whenever you let your children use these technological resources. No matter whether they use a cell phone or tablet, you should know that there are millions of applications available for download on any device, so this risk increases considerably.

Why is downloading apps dangerous for your children?

It’s dangerous for children to download apps because they could access inappropriate content. Not all apps are for children, as they may contain advertisements or try to get personal information for scams. Minors, without knowing what they have in front of the screen, may provide this information.

There are many applications that are created to be fraudulent. In these cases, the aim is to trick the user into thinking that it’s a normal application. Therefore, when installed on the device, they begin to collect information and can even impersonate identities to steal data and expose them. Also, this information can be sold to other fraudulent apps. For all these reasons, extreme care must be taken.

The first step to avoiding risks is not to allow children to download any type of application. And, if they do, they should tell their parents so that they can examine it beforehand.

How to avoid downloading apps

You, as a user, probably know about the danger of downloading this type of app and thus avoid having your data stolen. However, as for your children, it’s essential to ensure that they don’t download apps on their own. In any case, you can advise them and do it together with them.

In this regard, prevention is the best way to prevent children from running risks. You can also prevent them from making inappropriate purchases or downloading paid apps. In fact, there are many apps that seem free, but once installed, turn out to be paid.

Block downloading

A good option is to block the downloading of applications on your mobile devices using a security code that the child shouldn’t know. This way, downloading apps will be impossible without you first knowing what they are and being able to check them.

But of course, when children grow up, this security may no longer be sufficient. In addition, your children may already have their own devices. In this case, it’s more complicated to control the content they access.

Therefore, it’s essential that if you decide to buy a cell phone or tablet, you’re sure that the child is mature enough to make responsible use of it. It’s also essential to talk to them about it before giving it to them. Another important issue is that they should never associate a credit card with this device. Finally, you can also activate parental controls if you think it’s necessary.

A child playing on a cell phone.
In general, applications themselves aren’t risky. However, the way they’re used by minors is.

The danger is in the way they’re used

There are applications that look safe for children over 12 years old that can also be a risk, so they should be taken into consideration. For example, Snapchat is a free app where minors exchange images that disappear in a few seconds. In this way, minors let down their defenses and send images that can even be compromising.

But, even if they’re images that disappear, screenshots can be taken, which can lead to social problems, such as coercion. In this regard, it’s essential that children know how to use a particular application, even if it’s considered suitable for their age because, otherwise, there may be a danger.

Therefore, communication and trust between parents and children should never be lacking. In this way, whenever the child thinks they have a problem or doesn’t feel safe with a particular application, they’ll have enough confidence to ask their parents for help. On the other hand, never scold them if they make a mistake or do something wrong. Instead, give them the necessary tools so that it doesn’t happen again in the future and they’ll be able to have a better handling of applications.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.