How to Keep Tabs on the Apps Kids Download

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When was the last time you checked your child’s apps?

As our lives get busier and our children’s technology gets more confusing, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks.  Our children may have downloaded apps or games we don’t necessarily want them to be playing or using.  It might seem overwhelming, but doing a quick check is easy.

Educating yourself about the apps you are unfamiliar with may protect your children from predators and harmful, inappropriate content.  These small checks take only a little time and effort, but can have a significant impact on your child’s online safety.

Here’s how:

If you and your children share Apple devices under the one Apple ID:

On your iPad, iPhone, Mac home computer etc, you will easily be able to see all the apps and games in the ‘App Store’. Click on the profile icon of your account in the top right-hand corner, then choose ‘purchased’, then ‘my purchases’.  This will give you a full list of apps downloaded on any of your devices that have your Apple ID (you can choose ‘All’ or ‘Not on this iPhone’ at the top).

For added security, set up ‘Automatic Downloads’ (Settings/ iTunes & App Store / Automatic Downloads) which will ensure any apps you download onto your device will not automatically download onto your other devices that are connected via your iTunes account.

If you and your children share all your Apple devices, and you have set up Family Sharing:

In the ‘App Store’ click on the profile icon of your account in the top right-hand corner, then choose ‘purchased’, then the child’s ID you wish to check, and you will see the apps listed there.  Family Sharing has the option of ‘Ask to Buy’ which means you will receive a message asking for permission if your child wishes to purchase or download an app.  This keeps the control with you.

If you child has a separate Apple ID or Google Play account (not linked via Family Sharing or Family Link):

You will need to go directly to their device/s to check the apps listed.  In the ‘Settings’, scroll down to the very bottom to see a full list of apps on their device.

If you have an Android Device (Samsung, Sony, Nokia etc phone, Tablet, PC, Chrome Book):

Android devices via Google Play have a similar protection with the Family Link app.  You will be able to use the Parental Controls to restrict access to the Family Library content.  Go to Google Play and download the ‘Family Link’ app, and set up your child up with a Google Account.

You can delete apps from individual devices by going into the device, holding down any app until they are all shaking, and then select the apps you wish to delete.  Even after you have deleted them from all the devices they have been loaded onto, they will still appear in ‘Purchased’ (but with a cloud/down arrow icon next to it), giving you the option to download it without paying for it again.

Educating yourself about the apps you are unfamiliar with may protect your children from predators and harmful, inappropriate content.  These small checks take only a little time and effort, but can have a significant impact on your child’s online safety.

Compiled by Perimeter Guardian, a technology-based company that provides protection to school communities across Australia. It partners with schools to provide protection particularly in the areas of new technologies and cyber safety.