Mobile apps are fun, motivating and stimulating for children when they use an iPad, iPhone, iPod or android device. However, it is really as safe as it seems? Even though apps have found to be extremely beneficial for education and children’s development, safety concerns suggest that kids may not potentially be safe when using them.
When I was growing up, I really didn’t have much of a digital footprint. The first company that I signed up to was MySpace in year 8 because ‘it was the coolest thing to have‘. However, the popularity for MySpace has dramatically crashed due to Facebook, I still don’t know if my account is even active anymore – maybe I should find this out.
Kids today are developing a much larger digital footprint as they are signing up to gaming websites and downloading apps. Without their knowledge, these apps are taking very personal information from their devices without their consent prior to using it. Information such as the unique identifying device on mobile phones, the users phone number, the devices locations and audio recordings of the person #yikes.
The daily Mail has found:
“Fruit Ninja collects a phone’s location, which could be passed on to advertisers. And Talking Tom, where kids can talk to and ‘tickle’ an alley cat using the touch screen, collects a child’s audio recordings along with other information that can uniquely identify a phone” (Associated Press, 2014).
Have you ever played Angry Birds, Despicable Me or Cut the Rope? These are all children’s games and the companies that have made these apps have access to your phones status and identity, has full network access, your location and can find all of your accounts that are linked to your device.
I have used these apps, and I am not quite worried what information companies have been secretly storing away without my knowledge and consent.
This finding has really made me think of using apps within my classroom. I am unaware of what companies are storing and I am responsible for keeping my future student’s information and identity safe. A landmark case was held in 2013 regarding children’s privacy and privacy laws however, the Daily Mail report that apps that are aimed for children are still collecting and storing information on their devices and usage data.
There is a website called Privacy Grade in which it assesses apps and grades them on their privacy settings.
What are your thoughts? I am quite astounded what information apps store away – maybe I should throw my iPhone into the river? Along with all of my other devices.
Thanks for reading,
Associated Press. (2014). ‘Kids are a lucrative market’: Mobile app developers still collect information on children despite privacy laws. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2865169/Mobile-apps-collect-information-kids.html
Curtis, S. (2014). One in three smartphone owners uninterested in apps [image]. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/11041015/One-in-three-smartphone-owners-uninterested-in-apps.html
Privacy Grade. (2014). Apps. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from http://privacygrade.org/apps