The iPad I bought my daughter is turning out to be one of the best investments I’ve made. The level of technology in this thin apparatus is nothing short of amazing. Clarice is able to prepare virtual food using intricate recipes that involve measuring and pouring ingredients, running audible kitchen appliances and preparing bubbling pots of hot food. The first time I heard her using this app I practically ran off the road since loud popping sounds came out of nowhere! She was using a food app to prepare popcorn and I could barely keep my eyes on the road for ogling her screen. After pouring it into a bowl she got to virtually consume it complete with crunching sounds. I could practically taste it myself and the best part was no calories. This could become a great dieting tool.
There seems to be an app for everything and they are being developed so quickly that close to 800 new ones hit the market daily. But along with the high number comes high risk. Many apps on mobile applications are tracking users and sharing their location, contact lists and other private information. This is scary stuff when kids are involved. Even Angry Birds uses location data, which comes as a big surprise to most parents. But the insatiable appetite of users makes them easy prey for security breaches and deceitful tracking. Researchers in the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon discovered the Pandora radio app accessing their contact lists, Brightest Flashlight sharing their device ID and Horoscope using their location information.
And this just scratches the surface of app dangers. Everything from subliminal messaging to inappropriate content can be found on sites your children are downloading everyday. Clever marketing also makes it very easy for app accessories to be purchased by users who think they are using virtual money while playing games. I’ve heard countless stories from people who learned this the hard way.
But Spencer Whitman is a techno super hero who has arrived to save the day for vulnerable users. He is a computer security expert with high ethical standards who is making the networked world a safer place to dwell. He is the CEO and Co-Founder of AppCertain, a Pittsburgh start-up that provides a free app monitoring service to Apple device users. I encourage you to check it out at http://www.appcertain.com Once you enroll, you will be notified when a new app has been downloaded along with an analysis that includes educational value, in-app purchases, inappropriate content, etc. It is every parent’s dream and you will sleep easier at night knowing that Professor AppCertain is on the job.