WhatsApp is a free mobile messaging app which allows users to send and receive messages, images and videos to their existing phone contacts, using an internet connection. WhatsApp users can create groups and send messages to lots of their friends at the same time.
In 2016 is was estimated 30 billion messages are sent every day and that there were more than 1 billion users.
Whatsapp is free to download and with the ever growing power and coverage of WiFi it also offers a free alternative to messaging your contacts, avoiding price plans. It's easy to use and there is no enforcement of the age restriction so teens use it too.
2) What are the risks with Whatsapp?
There are two obvious risks that come with all messaging platforms, they are contact from strangers, potentially attempting to groom the user as well as a very loose restriction on pornographic material. Also, although you can report messages, Whatsapp strongly urge you to contact your local police force as it can be extremely difficult for them to action anything.
3) What is the minimum age for Whatsapp?
The minimum age in Europe is 16 which is much higher than the majority of social media apps out there, but there is no enforcement of this rule.
4) What are the best ways to keep safe on Whatsapp?
Firstly, Whatsapp has it's own help centre, the link is below in the Safety Advice section. A common sense approach is always encouraged, do not speak with people you don't know, keep away from group chats that are offensive or obscene and do not share any personal information about yourself.
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WHATSAPP has a "Help Centre", within this is tips for parents which will give everything from the basics around Whatsapp to "how do I block someone?"
REPORTING: Although you can report via Whatsapp, they suggest it is better to go to your local law enforcement.
MYTH BUSTER: You don't "have" to have a mobile number to use Whatsapp. You can install and use Whatsapp without the use of a mobile number, meaning your child doesn't need a phone & sim card to use this app
Although there are some automatic restrictions by default around adding people, "friends of friends" can add your child through group chats