child holding cupcakes

Kids and Apps: What You Need to Know

The Gist

  • Trends change, social media platforms evolve, and new apps can explode onto the scene in a matter of days.
  • To help out, we've compiled the ultimate parent's guide of common app types to help keep kids safe online.

Let’s face it, us parents like to think we are super hip, tech savvy, and in-the-know about all the things that are happening in our kids' lives. But the reality is that trends change, social media platforms evolve, and new apps can explode onto the scene in a matter of days. It can be difficult to tell which apps are actually a threat to your child’s well being, and which apps are generally safe for kids to engage with. 

The roster of apps popular with kids is always changing, but these are currently the most widely-used types of apps for young people to have on their phones. It’s important to talk to your kids about safe internet use, whether or not they use these specific apps that we’ve listed.

Kids and parent looking at apps on phone

The way kids communicate nowadays has changed a lot (like, A LOT A LOT) since we were kids. For many young kids, texting/messaging and social media are two ways they feel connected to their peers. This isn’t always a bad thing, but when kids start communicating on secret messaging apps without any parental supervision, that can mean lots of trouble. Apps like Snapchat, Discord, GroupMe, and Kik are just a few of the most popular messaging apps that kids use today. Outside of chatting with friends, kids can encounter predation, inappropriate content, and cyberbullying on messaging apps. 

Every parent will eventually come to a point where they have to ask themselves “Am I going to allow my child to use social media?” If you didn’t grow up with social media, it can be hard to know how exactly this decision will impact your child. Apps like Instagram, TikTok, and X (Twitter) are all great ways for kids to connect but if you and your kid are not prepared for them, they can come with huge potential dangers like cyberbullying, potential stalking, exposure to inappropriate content, and more.

Location sharing is the modern-day version of playing hide and seek, except the hiding spots are revealed with a tap on the screen. You may not notice it, but many of the apps available today are using location tracking in various ways. Weather apps, local news apps, nearby businesses and even social apps like Snapchat. While some of those serve a purpose, others can be dangerous for kids to explore. If you don’t want apps tracking your activity or location, be sure to select “ask app not to track” when downloading new apps on you or your child’s phone. 

Vault apps, or hidden apps, are arguably the most dangerous types of apps made available today. They can be used on cell phones to hide things like messages, photos, files, and even other apps. Most of them look completely harmless because they are designed to look like calculator apps and often get overlooked on phones. Not to mention, they are constantly changing their look, feel, and even name, making it hard to keep a running list for parents. The biggest indicator that your child may have a vault app is if they have multiple apps of the same type, like two calculators, installed on their phone.

Oftentimes, kids just want to keep up with the apps that their peers are using. They may not even realize just how dangerous some apps can be. Enter Jade Click, which can help you monitor many of the app types listed above.

Click can help you create screen time schedules, block apps and websites entirely, and filter out entire categories of content like alcohol, gambling, porn, etc. so that your kiddos are protected while surfing the digital world.