According to a recent Ofcom report (2023), WhatsApp usage among kids has seen a significant increase,  jumping from 53% to 55% in just a year. These kids are mostly between 3-12 years old, which is a concerning trend for parents.

Why? WhatsApp requires users to be at least 13 years old. This age restriction raises concerns – is WhatsApp safe for kids? Should you hit the delete button on their accounts?

The first question calls for a deep dive into the reasons behind this age restriction. We’ll go back to them later. But for the second question – deleting their accounts – the answer is a big NO.

Even if your child is an active Whatsapp, there are ways to establish control and create a safer online experience. Here, we’ll explore two practical methods for monitoring your child’s WhatsApp activity. 

Is WhatsApp Safe for Kids?

We’ll be honest with you: WhatsApp is quite a safe platform. It encrypts all messages and calls, making it impossible for anyone to intercept and read them. Without your contact information, some random stranger can’t just text you.

The real concern is not WhatsApp itself, but how your child uses it and who they interact with. 

Sure, our kids are tech-savvy enough to set up some privacy settings and block strangers, but mentally, they’re still kids. They’re vulnerable to cyberbullies, online predators, and scams. Even adults sometimes get caught in these traps, so imagine how much easier it is for our children to fall victim to digital threats.

So, while having deep conversations with your child about online safety is crucial, using a parental control tool can provide an extra layer of protection. 

Why Do You Need to Set Up WhatsApp Parental Control?

  1. Shield them from inappropriate content:  WhatsApp can be full of adult content, fake news, and other things your kid shouldn’t see. By checking in on their chats, you can shield them from all that. You’ll create a safer space for them to explore online.
  2. Keep strangers at bay: Even with privacy settings, your child might run into online predators or bullies. Monitoring their interactions helps you spot any warning signs. You can step in before things get out of hand and keep your child safe.
  3. Help them balance screen time: Too much WhatsApp can lead to screen addiction. That’s no good for your child’s health and happiness. By setting limits and watching their activity, you can help them find a healthy balance with technology. 
  4. Stop trouble before it starts: Kids don’t always make the best choices online. They might share private info or do risky things. So, keep an eye on their WhatsApp to nip those issues in the bud!

How to Set Up WhatsApp Parental Controls

Unlike some social media apps, WhatsApp doesn’t have a dedicated “parental control” section. But there are still plenty of settings you can tweak to create a safer online environment for your child.

Here’s a breakdown of essential settings you can adjust to keep your child’s WhatsApp experience safe and secure:

  1. Block Unwanted Contacts:

Sometimes, blocking is the best medicine. This feature allows you to restrict specific contacts from interacting with your child, effectively filtering out unwanted content.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Open WhatsApp and tap the Settings icon.
  • Navigate to Account.
  • Select Privacy.
  • Choose Blocked.
  • From your child’s contact list, select the individuals you want to block. Anyone added to this list will no longer be able to message or call your child.
  1. Report Safety and Security Issues:

If a contact is harassing or sending inappropriate content to your child, you can report them directly to WhatsApp. Here’s how:

  • Open the chat of the unwanted contact.
  • Tap the contact’s name at the top of the chat.
  • Choose Report or Block.

Alternatively:

  • Long press on a specific message within the chat and select Report.
  1. Control Visible Information:

By adjusting your child’s privacy settings, you can control what information is displayed to other users. Here’s how:

  • Tap the Settings icon.
  • Select Account.
  • Choose Privacy.

From here, you can adjust who sees your child’s profile picture, “Last Seen” status, and other profile details. Consider setting these options to “My Contacts” or even “Nobody” for maximum privacy.

  1. Disable Live Location:

Sharing real-time location information, especially for children, can be risky. Here’s how to disable it:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Tap Account.
  • Select Privacy.
  • Choose Live Location.
  • From here, you can select specific contacts who will be excluded from seeing your child’s live location.
  1. Turn Off “Last Seen”:

The “Last Seen” feature shows contacts when your child was last active on WhatsApp. Disabling this provides more privacy. Here’s how:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Select Account.
  • Choose Privacy.
  • Tap Last Seen.
  • Choose who can see “Last Seen”: “Everyone,” “My Contacts,” or “Nobody.”
  1. Disable Automatic Image Saving:

By default, WhatsApp automatically saves all media files received in chats to your phone’s storage. This can include inappropriate content. Here’s how to disable it:

  • Open Settings.
  • Navigate to Chats.
  • Select Media Visibility.
  • Turn off Save to Camera Roll. This will prevent newly downloaded media from being saved to your child’s phone’s gallery.
  1. Change Group Chat Settings:

Being added to random group chats can expose your child to unwanted content. Here’s how to control who can add your child to groups:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Tap Privacy.
  • Navigate to Groups.
  • Choose who can add your child to groups: “Everyone,” “My Contacts,” or “My Contacts Except…” (allowing you to exclude specific contacts).

How to Control Your Kid’s Whatsapp Remotely With App?

WhatsApp’s built-in settings give you some control, but they might not cover everything. Parental control apps can do more.

They can show you what your child is doing online and let you adjust settings remotely. The most important thing is that restrictions you set up on your child’s device with a parental control app cannot be changed by your kid. On the other hand, WhatsApp privacy settings can be easily changed by your child without your knowledge.

A popular option is mSpy. It is a well-known parental control app that offers features to monitor and control your child’s WhatsApp usage.

You can use mSpy to:

  • Monitor chats: You’ll be able to see all WhatsApp messages sent and received in real time.
  • View multimedia files: Check out photos, videos, and audio shared via chat or profile status.
  • Track their location: Keep tabs on where your child is with a live map that updates every 5 minutes.
  • Set geofences: Get alerts when your child enters or leaves designated “safe” zones.
  • Receive alerts: If there’s any suspicious activity or your child receives messages from unknown contacts, you’ll be notified.
  • View deleted messages: mSpy even shows you deleted messages, so no conversation goes unnoticed.
  • Set time restrictions: Control how much time your child spends on WhatsApp with mSpy’s remote control feature.
  • Block unwanted contacts: You can even block specific numbers from contacting your child through WhatsApp.
Note: mSpy gives you full access to your child’s access to your child’s WhatsApp activity and much more! Monitor other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and more—all in one place.

How to Use mSpy?

  1. Sign-Up: Create an account on the mSpy website by entering your email and creating a password.
  2. Choose Your Plan: Select a subscription plan that meets your needs and budget.
  3. Install App: Follow the installation guide provided by mSpy to set up the app on your child’s device.
  4. Start Monitoring: Once installed, you’ll be able to view all WhatsApp activity via the mSpy dashboard. Enter mspy.com on a web browser and log in with your account credentials to access the dashboard.

Conclusion

WhatsApp’s built-in settings are a good starting point, but they have limitations. Your child can easily change them back without your knowledge. mSpy, on the other hand, gives you complete control. You can monitor their activity and make necessary adjustments remotely from a single, user-friendly dashboard.

If you want to take your child’s WhatsApp safety to the next level, consider trying mSpy. It can provide you with peace of mind, knowing that you’re doing everything possible to protect your child in the digital world.

FAQ

Is it okay to let my 12-year-old use WhatsApp?

As much as your child might want to join the WhatsApp bandwagon, it’s best to hold off for now. WhatsApp’s policy is clear: no kids under 13 allowed. Plus, as a parent, you want to protect your child from inappropriate content and interactions. It’s tough, but standing your ground is the right call here.

How can I block WhatsApp on my kid’s phone?

You’ve got a couple of options to keep WhatsApp off your kid’s device. You can block it through the app store, or use parental control app like mSpy. It will allow you to block apps remotely and even set time restrictions for app usage.

How can I check my son’s WhatsApp without him knowing?

If you want to keep an eye on your son’s WhatsApp activity without tipping him off, a parental control app is the way to go. Some apps, like mSpy, have a stealth mode that keeps your monitoring under wraps. You’ll be able to see everything he’s up to on WhatsApp.

Wesley Robinson

Wesley Robinson is a seasoned investigative journalist with a passion for uncovering the truth in the digital age. With years of experience delving into topics like infidelity and online deception, he brings a keen eye and meticulous research to his work, shedding light on the complexities of modern relationships.

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