How do I know if an app is age appropriate for my child?

Apps can be downloaded in an app store either on the smartphone device or online. As some apps cost money and others may contain content that you don’t think is appropriate for your child, you could use your details to register and then decide together which apps to download. As they get older you may prefer to talk to them about the apps they are using but give them the responsibility to download apps themselves.

Familiarise yourself with the online app websites so you know what apps are out there, and perhaps you can recommend your child some fun apps! There are also apps which are tools for parents that can help filter out age inappropriate content or help restrict some of the device’s functions.

It is worth checking the age ratings on apps, where available. However, you should be aware that app developers provide these age ratings and they are not generally independently rated. You can also look at app reviews online. For example, Common Sense Media provide age ratings and reviews for many apps, relying on developmental criteria to determine what content is appropriate for which ages.

It is possible for apps to contain viruses and some smartphones are more prone to malicious apps. Smartphones run on an operating system (much like a computer), the three main ones are Google Android, Apple iOS and BlackBerry. Apple approve every app that gets to their store (for iPhones, iPads and iPods) so there is some degree of quality control. Android and BlackBerry phones use software that allows developers to produce and upload any app. It is always worth reading reviews of the app on the relevant app store to check that other users have not had problems with it.