Some apps only work if they can access certain functions and data on the device: Google Maps needs access to the location, for example, in order to navigate, Instagram would like to access camera and photos, because otherwise no pictures could be posted and WhatsApp accesses the saved contacts to be able to send messages. But with some apps, it is not clear at first glance why they request a lot of personal data and permissions during installation. To avoid unintentionally storing and sharing your child’s data, it makes sense to keep track of app permissions together and make the right settings.
After downloading an app, so-called permissions are often requested when opening it for the first time. This defines which functions and data the respective app is allowed to access on the device. However, some apps want to access functions that are not necessary and require more permissions than necessary. The main reason behind this is the interest in using data for analysis or advertising purposes or passing it on to third parties. This is especially the case with free apps and many game apps, as they earn money by sharing user data. Unfortunately, this is why they are often questionable in terms of data protection.
View the permissions of an app on the smartphone to know what features and information it accesses. It is best to look at these together with your child and discuss which settings should possibly also be deactivated. There are two options for both Android (from version 6.0) and Apple devices (iPhone/iPad from IOS 7). To do this, go to the “Settings” for both operating systems.
You can learn more about app permission settings on Apple devices by contacting Apple support.
Agree with your child whether or not they can install apps independently. Is your child already experienced with smartphone use and can he or she assess which app permissions are useful or does he or she still need support?
Talk about which permissions make sense for which apps and show your child how to disable permissions. Access to location information or saved contacts should be handled with care in order to protect your own data. Consider together what is more important, using a particular app or maintaining privacy. If necessary, research alternative apps that are privacy-friendly.
Even after installation, check the permissions at regular intervals. For some apps, permissions change during updates.
If you are unsure whether an app is trustworthy, it is worth looking for information about the developer or provider on the web. On klick-tipps.net, numerous apps popular with children are evaluated and presented with a view to possible risks.