Many mobile apps developed for young people carry out functions parents are unaware of which could put data about their children at risk, app security testing company Veracode warned.

The company found that 59 per cent of apps aimed at children collect personal information, with only 11 per cent saying that this is the case. This is despite many parents believing apps aimed at children are educational and safe.

In addition, 22 per cent connect to social media accounts and 58 per cent include ads, with just 9 per cent informing users in both cases. A significant 84 per cent of these apps allow users to spend additional money, even if the app is free.

In order to combat the issue, Veracode recommends that parents look at app screenshots in app stores, as well as read the description, content rating and user reviews, follow links for information on developers and be aware that there are fake apps that pose as real apps.

Parents can also restrict content appropriate for their child’s age on their device, monitor and review new app downloads, set a password to stop children making app purchases, and disable WiFi and data services when they are not present.

According to Veracode’s “Why Parents Should be Concerned About App Security” research, seven out of 10 children use tablets or other smart devices, with the average child using such devices five days a week.