Kids who want to hide things from their parents know better than to use generic text messages. They’re smart enough to realize how easy it is for their parents to see their texts using spy apps and other monitoring technology. So, kids are turning to private messaging apps to text with others. Below is a list of the most commonly used messenger applications children are using today.
What Do Kids Look For In A Messaging App?
Private and Secure Communication
For kids looking to have secret chats with others, they must find a secure messaging app that won’t allow others to access it. One of the main reasons kids use these apps is to keep their parents from viewing their texts. For this reason, kids will choose a messaging app that is all around private. For example, they may look for a messaging app that requires the user to enter a passcode before opening.
Fully Encrypted Texting
Encryption protocols found in private messaging apps make sure that the texts sent can only be viewed by the sender and recipient(s). By using encryption, hackers and other online criminals cannot secretly view app users’ private messages.
Compatibility With iOS and Android
Compatibility is key. Kids want to make sure the app will work on their iOS and/or Android devices. This is especially true if someone uses different types of devices running on different operating systems. For example, a kid will want to make sure the app is available for use on their Samsung Galaxy phone and iPad Pro.
Ability To Create A Fake Phone Number
Some cell phone messaging apps assign a random phone number to the user. As a safety precaution, many kids and teens look for the ability to create a fake phone number. This helps prevent strangers they’re messaging from contacting their real number, and possibly uncovering their personal information online.
What Content They Can Message
Of course, kids want to make sure they can send the content they want. This includes GIFs, images, videos, texts, emoijs, links, map location, and more. They may also look to see if there’s a “Story” feature similar to Instagram.
Call and Video Chat Capabilities
More and more apps, especially private texting apps, are adding the capability to call or video chat in-app for free. Who doesn’t want to chat with someone for free!? Especially for kids and teens who don’t have to worry about paying for their own expenses.
5 Popular Private Messaging Apps
Messenger is a highly popular private messaging app created by Facebook. On it, you can do a number of things such as instant message, exchange photos and videos, share your location, make phone calls and video chats, and send emojis, GIFs, and stickers. All of this can conveniently be done at the touch of a child’s fingertips.
However, since this application is connected to Facebook, any person could easily target a user and hack their Facebook messages. Anyone could be trying to prey on a child, and their parents would not even know about it. Thankfully, Facebook has realized this and created Messenger Kids.
WhatsApp is another messaging app that is used by more than 1 billion people. The app has all of the same capabilities as Messenger, but also allows you to voice record. It’s compatible with Mac/PC, iPhone, Android, Nokia, and Windows Phone.
When you read more about the app, you’ll notice it is owned by Facebook. Meaning, the app comes with the same risks as using Messenger. Additionally, WhatsApp has had issues with their product security and exposing its users’ encrypted files.
Kik is a simpler messenger app that is user-friendly and has all of the essential features. Kids can send stickers, emojis, GIFs, and photos to their friends. When they aren’t chatting with those they know, Kik has interactive bots they can talk to and even play tic-tac-toe with!
Even though Kik claims to be safe, it has a feature which enables users to share their personal code with anyone. This unleashes a whole can of worms if this personal code is shared with and scanned by potentially dangerous Kik users.
Telegram is accessible on pretty much all devices including Android smartphones, iPhones, iPads, Mac/PC, web browsers, and Windows phones. This app prides itself on being great for people of all ages from kids to business owners. They encourage their users to join groups and interact with others who have similar interests.
Participating in groups may help a child’s social skills, however, there are also some risks associated with it as well. While chatting in groups, you really don’t know who you’re talking with and sometimes, conversations can escalate. For a child, they may not know how to handle the situation properly and could make it worse.
Among these top private messaging apps, Viber has the most features available to its users. People can make phone and video calls, create communities, and send texts, photos, videos, GIFs, and stickers. With their chat extensions feature, users can share music, videos, hotels, restaurants, events, and any links.
Viber is also considered one of the most secure messenger apps on the market. All messages are encrypted for privacy and contact identities must be verified.
So, those are the most popular private messaging apps used by kids today. Parents, make sure to be aware of the dangers associated with them and find out if your child is using one. If you discover they’re messaging with someone you don’t know, you can easily look up the person to see who they are. Nothing is more important than making sure they are safely messaging people they know.
For more technology parenting advice, browse our other articles on Safeguarde.com.