What is an app?
An app is a downloadable web or computer application. Mobile phone apps used to be predominantly associated with Apple Inc, but now other smart phone apps, like those for Blackberry and Android apps have become more common. 1 In fact in January 2010 Microsoft challenged Apple's claim that the term "app store" applied exclusively to them; they said app store had become a generic term used to describe any company's app store. 2
Apple product users download apps directly from the App Store through the use of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Available apps include Facebook, Twitter, games, horoscopes, literature, weight loss tools, and more. Over 500,000 apps exist for Apple users alone; some are available for free while others cost money. 4Apps from Apple are available from Apple's webpage or from iTunes. 5. Android Apps are available from the Google Play Store. 6
Concerns for Parents
- Because apps are downloaded straight to the device, and many do not cost money, parents may not be aware of inappropriate games or content a child plays or views.
- Children can delete an inappropriate app and re-download it later.
- Malware is sometimes disguised as a legitimate app.
How Can I Keep My Child Safe?
- Make sure to discuss what is appropriate and what is not. Communication between parents and children is vital.
- Be aware of what your child downloads and plays.
- Parental control options may be set on specific devices. On the iPod touch, parents can determine what rating of apps may be downloaded onto the device (see Apple’s App Rating System), if app purchases are allowed on the device, or even if the device is allowed to access the App Store. These settings are protected by a four-digit password, allowing parents the ability to control the content available to their children.
- Apps often require usernames and passwords (such as Facebook) to access its services. It is a good idea to download an app that protects your phone from malware and identity theft (see Lookout).
Where Can I Learn More?
- Read our NewsWire Article on Facebook App Attacks here.
- Read our NewsWire for another example of a Facebook App Scam here.
- More app reviews here.