Parental controls on Instagram, anti-stalking upgrades for Tile, and iOS 15.4 are now available

Welcome back this week at Applications, a weekly TechCrunch feature featuring the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications, and app products in general. According to the most recent end-of-year statistics, app business continues to perform well, with record number of downloads and user spending in all iOS and Google Play stores combined in 2021. By 2021, China will spend $ 170 billion on iOS, Google Play, and third-party Android app stores, up 19 percent from the previous year. Application revenues increased by 5% to 230 billion in 2021, while mobile advertising spending increased by 23% year-over-year to $ 295 billion.

Consumers today spend more time on gadgets than ever before – especially when they spend more time watching TV. The average American watches 3.1 hours of TV a day, for example, but in 2021, they spend 4.1 hours on their mobile device. And they are not even the heaviest mobile users in the world. In markets such as Brazil, Indonesia and South Korea, users will spend more than five hours a day on mobile devices in 2021.

Applications are not a way to go beyond working hours, either. They can grow to become big businesses. By 2021, 233 applications and games generated more than $ 100 million in consumer spending, and 13 generated $ 1 billion in revenue. This is 20% from 2020, when 193 applications and games raised $ 100 million in annual user spending, and eight applications to $ 1 billion. This week the Apps offers a way to keep up with the fast paced industry in one place, with the latest from the world of apps, including news, updates, startup expenses, collections and assets, and suggestions about new tools to try, especially.

In 2016, TechCrunch published a study citing the average age of children who received their first smartphone at 10.3; 39% of children also have a social media account by the age of 11.4, on average, he said. Earlier reports suggested the average age of kids having smartphones was even younger. In other words, it has been known for some time that children use devices and go on social media devices when they receive them. And yet, have you taken this many years for one of the most used tools in the world, Instagram, to change parental controls?

That’s right: This week, Meta announced its broader strategy to finally address the fact that millions of young people are using its services and, perhaps, parents want that kind of control over that. The company said its new Family Center will offer a central hub where parents can manage their children’s accounts across Meta applications, initially starting with Instagram. It also introduced parental control to its VR headset, Meta Quest, three years after its launch, allowing parents to control what apps kids can download and access.

Unfortunately, I have to admit, I find that Instagram parental controls do not have feature rules. At launch, parents can view the time spent and set time limits for the app, keep track of which logs the teen is following and get notified if a teen reports to another user. It is better than nothing, but it is certainly not enough. After all, parents can already see the time they spend and manage time limits from Google and parental controls built into Apple, so that’s not really a new task for a parent who is already affected by using their child’s smartphone. And while other features are of course useful, they are not as comprehensive as the parental controls built into Instagram’s main rival, TikTok, offers.

That part is not fully controlled by Instagram. When Meta announced that it was preparing a professional version of its app experience for under-13 users, aka Instagram for kids, retirement from customers, the media and lawyers had worsened, Meta had to put the project on hold. But the reality is that kids under the age of 13 are already on Instagram, just like they are already on Snapchat and TikTok and many other apps where access to adult experiences is as easy as choosing a different birthday their.

Meanwhile, TikTok, in a way, is able to get the FTC’s million-dollar fine back in 2019, because it forced the company to deal with children under 13 on the device with age, according to COPPA, a “limited application” experience called TikTok for young users. That means TikTok can offer its services to children under 13 and then refer parents as to how they can control what their children can see and do through the parental controls built into the app. It contains a wealth of Gen Alpha oil, in other words. And parents feel that they do not have to reject TikTok completely (Good Lord, these kids are begging for this application!) Or they have to let their children be fully, and often the adult, world of TikTok .

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