It’s pretty easy to find an app for kids with high ratings and download it with the tap of a finger. Finding out how safe your child is using it, however, takes a little more work. A recent article points out the confusion behind app categories and the possible threats to you and your child’s privacy.
Though apps are rated by age level, providers such as Apple, Android and Windows each have their own system of categorizing. While Apple ages range from 4+ to 17+, Google Play rates apps by Everyone to High Maturity and Windows follows the system used to rate video games from Everyone to Adult Only. This lack of consistency can easily cause confusion between platforms and mediums.
“Unifying this at one level makes a lot of sense,” said Scott Weiner, an app developer in Mansfield, Mass. “The problem is, right now it’s still an immature market, without a clear set of leaders in the industry. As a parent and a developer, I’d rather make it the parent’s choice and make it easy for them to see the issues.”
While most developers are upfront concerning their policies and the type of information they collect, many are not. A 2012 study of 400 random apps using the keyword “kids” found that only 20-percent disclosed information concerning privacy practices, 58-percent contained advertising with only 15-percent of them indicating the use of ads and 3-percent transmitted the user’s geolocation.
One way parents can combat this is by using a site called Secure Me, which indicates what kind of information an app might post on social media, personal information it requests, if it accesses data while a user is offline and whether it has access or posts information to friends. This information can also be found on the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) site by typing in the name of the app in question.
Read the full article on the Newsday website.
BMWK– How do you determine which apps are safe for your kids to use? Have you found a particular developer to be overall good for kids and others that are not?