How Can Social Media App Creators Do Better For Children

Constantin Macri 11/03/2023 | 01:10

Social media apps have become an integral part of our lives, providing us with an avenue for communication, entertainment, and information. So ingrained is social media in our lives and culture that many children are now on social media more than ever.


However, with the increasing number of children accessing social media platforms, it is essential for app creators to be mindful of their safety and well-being. In its recent survey, virtual private network and cybersecurity company ExpressVPN found that 63 percent of kids in the U.S. and 53 percent of kids in the UK between the ages of 4 and 13 are on social media. And they spend an average of 28 minutes daily on those apps.

Children are highly vulnerable to online threats such as cyberbullying, exposure to inappropriate content, and online grooming. In a 2021 study, researchers found a difference between the sort of risks adults and children face while on social media. To make their platforms safe for all, app creators must proactively safeguard the children using them by implementing measures promoting responsible and safe online behavior.

While parents and guardians can play a part in helping children adapt better while on social media, app creators and programmers could do a lot to support parents and ensure that it’s easier for parents to protect their children.

Not only does this bode well for parents, but it can also really improve the standing of certain apps and their businesses in the industry.

Here are some ways that social media app creators can be more mindful of children:


1.   Add age verification processes

App creators must ensure their platforms are age-appropriate by implementing an age-verification process prohibiting underage children from creating accounts. The simplest and most common age verification process is to ask users to enter their date of birth during the sign-up process. The app can then compare this date with the current date to determine the user’s age. However, this method is not foolproof, as users can quickly enter a false date of birth.

For apps that are designed for children, parental consent can be required. In this case, the app may need the parent to enter their own information and verify that they are the child’s legal guardian. This will prevent children from accessing inappropriate content and interacting with adults who may pose a risk to their safety.


2.   Make parental control settings accessible and easy to use

Social media apps can take a proactive approach to promoting and supporting parental control settings, which can help to create a safer and more positive online experience for children and families. Parental controls such as time limits, content filters, and reporting mechanisms can be implemented into different apps to ensure children are not exposed to harmful content accidentally.

In addition, social media apps can partner with parental control app developers to improve the functionality and integration of these apps within their platforms. This can include working together to develop new features or tools specifically designed to address the needs and concerns of parents and children on social media.


3.   Consider better privacy controls and settings

App creators must prioritize user privacy by implementing robust privacy settings allowing users to control who can view and communicate with their content. Children, in particular, should have more restricted privacy settings to prevent exposure to inappropriate content or unwanted attention from strangers.


4.   Provide educational resources

App creators should provide educational resources that promote safe and responsible online behavior, such as tips for avoiding cyberbullying and online grooming. Creators can also partner with experts in child safety and online security to develop informative, accurate, and up-to-date resources. These partnerships can include child advocacy organizations, academic institutions, and other experts in the field.

This will enable children to recognize potential online threats and take appropriate measures to protect themselves.


5.   Keep children at the forefront when designing apps

App creators should consider the user experience design to ensure that it is age-appropriate, easy to use, and engaging for children. This can include colorful graphics, simple navigation, and interactive content that encourages safe and responsible online behavior.

Social media app creators are responsible for promoting safe and responsible online behavior for children who use their platforms. By implementing age verification, parental controls, privacy settings, education, and user experience design, app creators can create a safer and more enjoyable online environment for children. App creators must continue to evolve and adapt to the changing online landscape and prioritize the safety and well-being of their users, particularly children.



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Constantin Macri | 28/06/2024 | 12:25
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