Cyber Cyril Investigates WhatsApp & Channels
This week’s Cyber Cyril investigates WhatsApp and Channels in the new Update!
Now you may not have noticed that WhatsApp, rated 16+ for access, now includes Channels in it’s latest update. Channels is a way for outside influences to post and share information and images directly to your WhatsApp. Your data is stored for 30 days once a channel is added, but there are issues surrounding the safety and monitoring of these channels and their content.
Things to note from an online safety perspective:
- Anyone can create a WhatsApp channel;
- Channels allow admins to send pictures, messages and videos;
- Messages are encrypted – so how can you check what is being shared or what your child is selecting?
Aside from Channels, things to consider when children under 16 are given access to WhatsApp:
- Unwanted Contact – your child could be at risk of receiving unwanted messages or calls from other users
- Pressure to respond – others see your child is online, have read messages, receive notifications, and feel pressure to response even if they may not want to
- Location Sharing – live location can reveal your location to others. This can be used individually as well as in group chats
- Inappropriate content – end to end encryption means content of messages cannot be monitored. Children may see or hear harmful or upsetting content
- Cyberbullying – Admins can change settings to invite and remove people from chats. Children can be deliberately excluded from chats or groups whilst others may see comments about others that is upsetting in a large group
- Oversharing – disappearing messages or view once messages might lull children into sharing things they shouldn’t. There’s always a risk that an unintended person may view a message
More information can be found at https://www.nspcc.org.uk/
Please see below the National Online Safety’s #WakeUpWednesday WhatsApp guide for further information. Cyber Cyril recommends Kinzoo Messenger as a much better messaging app to share messages amongst our young people rather than using WhatsApp.