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13 Apps for Kids to Safely Communicate with Family

These 13 apps provide ways for kids and their family members to stay in touch.

Apps for staying in touch

Plenty of messaging apps are out there to help keep people in touch, no matter where they live. You’ve likely heard of platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat, to name a few. With rising concerns about children’s internet safety, some apps were designed for children and family members to communicate. Ultimately, whatever apps a child uses to talk with family and friends is at their parent’s discretion.

Even if your children are old enough to use more popular communication apps, Common Sense Media advises that you teach them internet safety and think twice before letting them use some of these apps. Features like location tracking and the ability to chat with strangers may not be appropriate for children under 13. Additionally, children can falsify their age for apps with built-in age limits for accounts, potentially giving them access to content that is meant for older audiences.

Parents must be vigilant about their children’s internet usage, regardless of age or internet safety knowledge. One great way to give children a safe way to communicate is by using age-appropriate applications created with family communication in mind. These family-friendly apps provide an excellent opportunity for parents to teach their children internet safety in a more controlled learning environment.

Mother and daughter on phone

Age-Appropriate Applications

If you have children under the age of 13, these are some apps that were created for kids to talk with their family members, classmates, and friends:

For children ages 13 and older who may be more responsible social media users, some of the most popular global messaging apps include:

Boy on phone

Peace-of-mind features

Keeping track of your children's location can be difficult depending on school schedules, extracurricular activities, and custody agreements. Whether your child is watching cartoons on the couch or driving to a friend’s house, newer family-oriented apps provide peace of mind for parents with location-tracking capabilities. Some family apps include automatic notifications when a user arrives at or leaves a destination, keeping family members in the loop.

Not all apps are free of charge, but a paid app may be well worth the cost if it meets your family’s needs. Paid apps or in-app upgrades offer additional features to keep your family informed, in touch, and compliant with family-specific internet rules.

In addition to facilitating secure communication, some advanced family-friendly apps offer beneficial features like:

  • Location tracking
  • Parental controls
  • Antivirus protection
  • Geofencing
  • Screen time limits
  • App management
  • Social media monitoring
  • Content screening
  • Budget control
  • Web filtering
  • Drive safety reports
  • Crash detection
Teenage girl on phone

Potential concerns

Even with their benefits, these apps still have some shortcomings. Because most free apps make a substantial amount of revenue through in-app advertising, children have the potential to access websites and services that may not be suited for them. Additionally, advertisers may have access to specific user data, leading parents to develop concerns over their children’s data privacy and potential surveillance.

Data privacy and security are important things that every family needs to take seriously, and it’s essential to research any family messaging app you are considering thoroughly before letting your children install it. Read the app developer’s privacy policies, online reviews, and articles about the app to ensure you are making an informed decision about which one best suits your family’s needs.

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