What is WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is a mobile messaging app which allows users to exchange messages using existing phone contacts without having to pay text message fees. WhatsApp is available on most mobile devices. WhatsApp users can create groups and send each other unlimited images, video and audio messages.
Does WhatsApp have any age restrictions?
As part of its Terms of Service, WhatsApp’s minimum age of use is 13 years old. By using WhatsApp, a user agrees to provide certain personal information such as their mobile phone number, billing and mobile device information.
Should I be concerned about WhatsApp as a parent/carer?
WhatsApp is a great way for young people to socialise with their friends.
Children can only talk to existing contacts on their phone, although this may feel safer, it’s still important to remember that some content shared may not be appropriate for children, or they have contacts (strangers) in their phone who they have never met face to face.
Likewise, as with all social media, caution is advised over your child’s digital footprint, particularly the content (photos, videos and messages) they choose to share via WhatsApp. Once shared, it can be copied, re shared and posted anywhere online.
WhatsApp’s default privacy setting allows any other WhatsApp user to view your profile photo, status and when you were last using the app.
You can specify that your child’s Whatsapp account (when they were last online, profile photo, status) can be seen by:
Everyone - all WhatsApp users.
My Contacts - the contacts from their address book only. This is the recommended option for most users.
Talk to your child about their privacy settings and ask them to adjust to ‘my contacts’ if they have them set to ‘everyone’ by following the steps below:
Privacy settings are accessed here:
WhatsApp > Settings > Account > Privacy
How do I report a user to WhatsApp?
There is no direct way to report a user, or specific abuse, other than to block them from sending you further messages. To do this, tap:
Settings > Account > Privacy > Blocked Contacts
WhatsApp messages sent by a blocked contact will not show up on your child’s phone and will never be delivered to them. The ‘last seen’ status information and profile picture will no longer be visible to blocked contacts.
To permanently delete a contact in WhatsApp, you will need to delete them from your phone’s list of contacts.
If you have any concerns about grooming, sexual abuse or exploitation on Whatsapp or on any online app or site, Report to CEOP (the National Crime Agency's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command) at www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre.
How do I disable a WhatsApp account?
Settings > Account > Delete My Account
This will remove all account information from the service including deleting all message history, and removing the user from all WhatsApp group.