Apps Advice

for Parents

How to prevent downloading a malicious app

Apps are where it’s at when it comes to tablets and smartphones, and you’ll probably be surprised by the sheer amount of apps that your children know about and would like to download or are already using.

Although smart devices come with preloaded applications, it’s likely that your child will want to download more, especially games. With an Android device, additional apps are downloaded from the Play Store; and with an iPhone one can visit the Apple App Store. When visiting these stores, you’ll see that there literally is an app for everything – some are free, others cost varying amounts of money to download.

But how do you know which ones are safe? Some apps contain worms, malware, viruses and other malicious factors – usually to steal something from you or your children, be it personal information, your contacts’ information, passwords or financial details.

Both you and he children in your care should be aware of and follow these steps to avoid downloading a malicious app:

Step 1:

  • Download security software on your child’s tablet or smartphone (there are many free antivirus tools online)
  • The software will scan your apps for anything suspicious
  • More advanced (sometimes paid) software has other features, such as a phone finder or remote data wipe in case the device gets lost or stolen

Step 2:

  • Before downloading any app (including your security app!), do your research
  • A simple Google search will often be very revealing, as other people may have posted if they have found a particular app to be malicious

Step 3:

  • Read the app’s review on the app store
  • Be savvy when you do so – if each of them give top marks and uses similar language it’s likely that the app developers have submitted fake reviews

Step 4:

  • Check the cost of the app
  • Even if it seems cheap or relatively cheap, there may be in-app purchases required to get the full use out of the app
  • The reviews section should reveal if this is the case

The key when downloading apps for your children or when helping them to download their own apps is to remain suspicious and savvy. Do your research before hitting the ‘install’ button.