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8 Red Flags for Apps on Facebook for Kids

April 8, 2012 at 4:21 PM

Facebook app

Facebook apps can be fun to use, but any child who installs them has to know what he or she is doing. Basically anyone can become a Facebook app developer, and not all of them have good intentions. Safety on Facebook for kids is just as important as internet safety for kids.

A less-than-trustworthy developer could infect your child's computer with a virus, send them a deluge of spam, or misuse his their information. Facebook apps collect and store a user's name, age, birth date, status updates, photos and videos, friends list, and more – if your child gives them permission.

If you allow your social networking children to download Facebook apps, then they need to ask themselves some questions about Internet safety to help them spot dangerous apps and stay away from them.

  1. Does it claim to be able to tell me who has viewed my Facebook profile? (Facebook doesn't release this information to anyone, making it impossible for any third-party app to have the capability to give it to your child.)

  2. What is the application's rating? Every Facebook app is given 1-5 stars by other users that can help filter out dangerous or worthless ones.

  3. Does the name of the app look strange in any way?

  4. What does the application's page say about it? Clicking on the name of a Facebook app should allow you to see an app's information, reviews, and Wall comments.

  5. What URL comes up when I run my mouse over (not click on) the hyperlinked words? Does it look suspicious?

  6. Does the app have a Facebook fan page?

  7. Do the app's developers disclose their identity or do they keep themselves anonymous?

  8. Did someone send me the app and invite me to install it? Do I trust this person? Does it seem characteristic of the type of thing this person usually sends me?

f the answer to any of the above questions is “yes,” then your child should hit “decline” and use the Facebook Applications Directory to find an app that performs a similar function. 

Impress upon your child the importance of using discretion whenever they give out their personal information, and that includes giving it to a Facebook app. Most third-party applications are nothing to worry about – but nobody is checking that they are safe, except for you. 

                                     
Steven Woda

Written by Steven Woda

Steve Woda is the co-founder and CEO of uKnow, and a leader in the Internet safety and security field for over 15 years. He frequently speaks on the topics of Internet and mobile security, ecommerce and information economics. You can follow Steve on Twitter or on his blog.

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