There are many applications introduced in the market today. There are applications for businesses and scientists such as the data science skills testing apps, applications for gamers such as the game hub, there are also other applications designed for parents and their children specifically designed to ensure the safety of their children.  These apps have become an essential part of our lives especially for parents who want to have some peace of mind when it comes to their children’s safety and security.

For some years now, it has been made easy for concerned parents to have their children’s GPS coordinates automatically sent to their parents’ cell phones using special tracking apps. Life 360 ​​or cell phone locations are such control apps, for example. Franzi used Apple’s Friends app to locate their children on the way to school, for example – at the beginning with their knowledge, later secretly.

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“When the kids were little, we just wanted to know where they were or if it took a while that you just knew they were here and there. Okay, I don’t have to worry, they’re right at home. ” Franzi, mother of two children

Control apps: Parents read messages and block contacts

However, many apps also have other monitoring functions. Parents can also use it to spy on their son and daughter: they can monitor the Internet activity on their offspring’s smartphone, read messages or block unwanted contacts and apps.

Checking your child’s cell phone is a parental responsibility. Because parents have to protect the child from dangers in the digital realm. On the other hand, the Civil Code also states that children have to be brought up as self-reliant people as they get older.

Monitoring larger children can be a violation of the law

Parents, according to lawyer Anatol Dutta from the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, are therefore obliged to give their children certain freedom. From a legal point of view, this means that location apps that allow permanent location is critical when the child grows older, says the lawyer. However, there are no clear age limits until when such monitoring is allowed. This had to be decided in individual cases depending on the child’s level of development.

The monitoring options for children are constantly increasing, and new apps are constantly being developed. But the benefits are often not checked in advance.

Can surveillance be a security risk?

In addition to surveillance, data protection officers also fear security risks for children. Friedemann Ebelt of the civil rights organization “Digital Courage” warns against carelessly handling child position data.

“The position data of children are transferred to a cloud. Then there is a server on the Internet, on which, if the project is widely established, all position data of children will run over it in real-time. That is such a sensitive area, you really have to think about it. ” Friedemann Ebelt, digital courage

Digital courage takes care of position data of children

Digital courage feared that the data could be intercepted and misused. From the company’s perspective, the criticism is unjustified. Data would not be saved, says Walter B. Hildebrandt.

Child protection: too much control inhibits children’s development

Cordula Lassner-Tietze from the German Child Protection Association has a very pragmatic piece of advice: parents and children should talk about the dangers children should avoid, but also which situations they can already cope with. Too much control, the child protection officers warn, is a shame more than that it uses. This deprives children of the opportunity to develop freely and to discover things.