Ever wondered if all apps are ok to download or what in-app purchasing is?
app [noun] = a small, specialised software program which can be downloaded to a device to carry out a particular function (from Scrabble to Facebook!)
You can personalise your device by downloading ‘apps’ which carry out fun and useful functions, from checking train times, using your favourite social networking site on the move to caring for a virtual pet!
You can get apps via a 'shop' or 'store' on your mobile device, for example Apple's App Store, Google Play and BlackBerry App world. You are able to download some apps for free and others will be paid for apps, normally paid for via an online account or charged to your monthly phone bill or to your pay as you go credit.
Are all apps okay to download?
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It's important to remember that apps can contain content that may be inappropriate for your age; for example it could contain violence or sexual content. Make sure you check the age ratings and content descriptions on apps before you download them, to make sure the app is age appropriate. These are assigned by the app developer so check out the reviews as well to make sure it is an app that you are happy to download onto your device. If you are unsure if it's ok to download you can always check with an adult first.
Also make sure you are downloading an app from a reputable site (like the ones listed above). 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.
What is in-app purchasing?
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While many apps are free, sometimes you may also decide to pay for apps, which commonly cost around 99p to £2.99, (though some can cost more). In-app purchases are not always obvious; you may have downloaded a free game app, but then to upgrade to the next level you are asked to make an “in-app purchase”. By doing this you will be asked to pay an additional sum of money, we have heard stories where young people have got into difficultly and have ended up running up huge bills!
If you are worried you will be tempted to buy things in app then why not turn off in-app purchases? On some smartphones it is possible to block in-app purchases and downloading apps by going into your phone settings.
How do I report an app?
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If you need to report an inappropriate app (it may be a scam app, or contain illegal or inappropriate content), please use the following links:
Now you know all about apps, how about trying to make your own? You could be the next successful app developer, check out Phonebrain for some great advice on creating an app.