What parents need to know about WhatsApp

Founded in the US by two former Yahoo employees, WhatsApp was already extremely popular when it was bought by Facebook in 2014, sending its usage figures stratospheric. Now, more than 50% of the two youngest generations (Millennials and Generation Z) use WhatsApp every day – including many who are well below the app’s specified age threshold.

Wherever there is a young and dedicated user-base, of course, the threat of grooming is a sinister, ever-present spectre. Indeed, some aspects of WhatsApp which are designed to be helpful or increase privacy – such as disappearing messages and live location services – actually exacerbate the risks. Check out the online safety guide for all the details.

As people sought a quick, reliable way to stay in touch with loved ones at the onset of the pandemic, WhatsApp experienced a jump of 40% in its usage figures. It’s now been downloaded by almost a third of the planet’s entire population – with more than half (53%) of those users opening the app at least once per day. WhatsApp’s everyday familiarity, however, can actually disguise some of the risks around its use. Scammers, for instance, are increasingly turning to the app as a vehicle for cons, while it’s also being chosen as a means of adding credibility to fake news stories. Updated for 2022, the #WakeUpWednesday guide brings trusted adults the lowdown on the instant messaging giant.