The Talking Angela app has been brought to our attention by parents and children alike after the Facebook/iOS app was subject to various recent warning posts on Facebook.
A little bit of research on the app shows that it is a legitimate app not hugely dissimilar to other “speak and repeat” apps such as Talking Tomcat & Talking Carl. As an extension however is does ask for personal details, but this is so responses can be personalised and a photo-to-Facebook service offered. All data sent to the company during this process is in anonymous data packets and is not shared elsewhere. Much of this is in the app’s terms and conditions and several independent websites (a, b & c)* have looked into the app and found little to worry about. The company responsible is not harvesting children’s photos and personal information and you should not be unduly concerned about the possibility.
HOWEVER…the focus on this app does highlight some very important e-safety issues, and if the concern over Talking Angela raises awareness of them then that’s great.
Each term during Computing lessons we start with a short e-safety unit based around one of Tabecat’s e-safety rules (which are posted below and always on the homepage of this website) and the third of these is:
NoticeBe careful what personal information you put online!
This is discussed in the context of e-mail, social media, chat rooms, text messages & other messaging systems, and it is made clear to children that personal information put online is not 100% private and can be seen and used by other people. The more often and the more places they put their personal information online, the more likely it is that it will be seen by people they’d rather not see it. The rule of thumb is this: if you wouldn’t want to see the words and pictures you put online around Halstead pasted to the side of a bus, don’t put it online. This may seem extreme, but better safe than sorry…
Whilst the Talking Angela app itself is very unlikely to be a threat to your children, it’s not good if it encourages them to share personal information online without regard for what is going to happen to that data. This may well be a good opportunity for you to discuss again with your children the dangers of sharing personal information online and to re-assess and/or more closely monitor their use of websites, apps and online equipment. E-safety experts suggest it is good practice for parents to regularly monitor the content and usage of all computers and mobile devices their children have access to.
It can often be the way IT is used that causes problems and/or danger, rather than the IT itself.
Should you find it useful, you can download a copy of our Tabecat e-safety poster Tabecat Says… to place somewhere at home as a reminder for your children.
* All links have been checked when created but Holy Trinity is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites. If you find a broken link or think a link should be removed please contact the website via firstname.lastname@example.org