App Store Description: WhatsApp Messenger is a FREE messaging app available for iPhone and other smartphones. WhatsApp uses your phone’s Internet connection (4G/3G/2G/EDGE or Wi-Fi, as available) to let you message and call friends and family. Switch from SMS to WhatsApp to send and receive messages, calls, photos, videos, and Voice Messages. (Apple iTunes Store)
APP Store rating: 12+ (Infrequent/Mild Medical/Treatment Information; Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes; Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes; Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor)
What do parents need to know about the WhatsApp Messenger App?
Any Porn? There aren’t many serious risks with WhatsApp in terms of accidental exposure to inappropriate content just from casual use. Parents should still have discussions about privacy and monitor who kids are communicating with, similar to teaching a child how to use texting because it’s not difficult for someone to send your child something inappropriate.
History is Gone: Parents should note that conversations can be easily deleted. We’re big fans of BARK Parental Controls, which for iOS can monitor your child’s messages and message attachments (if available). Bark can monitor WhatsApp messages for Android and Amazon device users.
Instagram and Facebook Integration: WhatsApp is owned by Facebook (as is Instagram), and a Spring 2018 updatenow allows videos that originated in either Facebook or Instagram that show up in WhatsApp to play directly in the WhatsApp interface without needing access to either of the originating apps.
New feature: Previously, anyone could add you to their chat group, which causes a lot of spam messages and the spread of misinformation. As of April 2019, WhatsApp lets the user decidewho can add them to a chat group. A user can choose everyone, contacts only, or nobody (in this situation, the sender can decide whether to send you an invite to join the group, then you have three days to accept).
WhatsApp Messenger App bottom line – is it safe for your kid?
We are warm to WhatsApp based on the minimal risk factors noted above. As a first step, iMessage is a better starting point, but WhatsApp is a great second step (instead of a high-risk messaging app like Kik). But, in a consistent theme, there are just no parental controls, which requires parents to use something to monitor its activity.