Parental control apps are falling out of favor, and experts say its a problem

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Brits are losing interest in parental control apps, exposing not just their children, but also their own electronic devices, to malware. 

This is according to a new report from NordVPN, which states that the number of downloads of the most popular parental control and monitoring apps in the UK dropped by 1% in the first quarter of 2023.

The VPN experts analyzed the download data for Microsoft Family Safety, Google Family Link, Qustodio Parental Control App, and FamiSafe-Parental Control App, and sounded the alarm after seeing the drop. To put things into perspective, last year these apps saw a 41% growth. Compared to 2021, the downloads of these five apps decreased by 2.40%, the researchers further stated.

Just like the flu

By losing interest in parental control apps, parents are not only exposing their children to various digital threats, but also their own devices, files, and digital identities. 

As explained by NordVPN’s CTO, Marijus Briedis, the problem with malware is that it can quickly move from a child’s infected device, over the home router, into otherwise defended endpoints. Even if it just remains within the router, that’s still a major risk:

“Parents forget that malware epidemiology works similarly to a flu or the coronavirus: even if you are careful and use protective measures, you still might get sick from your child who is not necessarily as cautious as you are,” Briedis said.

He added, “So while equipping your devices with cybersecurity solutions or trying to avoid malicious content and apps is a good first step, you should also track your children’s behavior online and take other protective measures. Your home network is as secure as its most vulnerable part.” 

To remain safe, parents should make sure their children’s devices are properly protected, as well as remembering to regularly update their router’s firmware and rename the network, also known as the SSID, from time to time. 

“Still, most importantly, you have to protect all of your connected devices, especially those used by children,” Briedis concluded. 

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