The most popular Internet Messaging Application by far is WhatsApp. It allows encrypted messages, calls and picture/video communications. Because it has a 16 years age limit it’s not usually an issue for the majority of ParentShield users but ParentShield gives you plenty of tools to protect users from this sort of app.
How can I monitor my child’s WhatsApp?
Because it is designed for adult ( 16+ ) use, WhatsApp is encrypted end-to-end so only the sender, and the mobile phone user is able to access messages. Unfortunately WhatsApp doesn’t provide for any age verification whatsoever so on any traditional mobile phone network it’s possible for any child of any age to download, install and register WhatsApp on their mobile phone without their parents awareness.
ParentShield alerts parents as soon as their child’s phone attempts to register for WhatsApp for the first time. The Setup Verification code is automatically blocked and ‘held over’ in the Parentshield Portal so parents can decide whether or not to forward it on to their child’s mobile phone.
Linking a web browser or mobile to WhatsApp
Fortunately for parents who need it, WhatsApp allows some protection via the ability to link a web browser or mobile to the child’s WhatsApp account – giving you full visibility of every message and correspondent.
If you have your child’s mobile phone at hand it’s a very simple job to use WhatsApp’s ‘Linked Devices’ system to get all the phone’s activity on your computer or mobile. Obviously this comes with all the usual Privacy warnings.
Simply visit https://web.whatsapp.com on your web browser and follow the simple instructions provided. Before you do this, make sure that WhatsApp is updated to the latest version available.
To link a mobile device, open WhatsApp on your phone and make sure you’re not signed in already. When it asks for your phone number to signup, tap the three dots menu and tap on Link as Companion Device. Then follow the instructions shown on your phone screen.
Will my child know I am monitoring their WhatsApp?
We always advise honesty and openness when approaching these things, but obviously as the parent you know your child and situation, and the risks better than anybody.
The mobile phone may ( depending on model ) display an alert to say that it has a linked device. Some Android versions show a little computer screen in the notifications panel and top bar. There is usually a control for this in Notifications and on our test Android devices we have been able to disable this by disabling “Other Notifications” in the Notifications settings for the WhatsApp application.
Why is WhatsApp dangerous for children?
WhatsApp is dangerous because it can be installed by any user of any age without any notification to Parents. Only ParentShield notifies parents that their children is trying to install it.
WhatsApp allows picture, video and voice messaging easily and with strangers. It’s easy to be added to a WhatsApp message group and instantly share videos or pictures with an unlimited number of unknown people. The risks this brings are obvious.
It also means your child’s phone number can be shared with an unlimited number of people worldwide, and this opens the possibility of contact via other means and opens your child to phishing attempts. Children can easily accept messages, open links and inadvertently allow full access to their mobile phone, and everything it does, along with its precise location.
In many ways – this “Secure Encrypted” platform is actually far less secure than a traditional SMS message that is extremely hard to intercept – with very good reason. With ParentShield these can be accessed from inside the Parentshield Portal.
WhatsApp support for parents
If you would like to speak to one of our Support team, please do call 03301221180 we are always delighted to be able to help where we can.