Apple’s Journal app could be too private for kids, expert says

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A social media, tech and family expert is raising questions about Apple’s automatically downloaded Journal app and whether it offers too much privacy for kids.

PHOENIX — You may not have noticed, but you’ve had a new app on your phone since late last year. 

It’s called Journal, an Apple-developed diary app that was installed on devices with an automatic software update. Apple touts it as so secure, that not even Apple could get into it. 

A video produced by social media and family expert Titania Jordan claims the app gives kids too much privacy. 

Jordan is the “chief parenting officer” of a company called Bark, which sells phone monitoring software for parents. 

“This journal app can be locked down so that only the child can access it without the parent’s ability to access it,” Jordan said. 

The app can be password or FaceID-protected. Photos and videos that are entered into the app can be set to only appear in the app instead of also in the camera roll. That, Jordan said, could mean parents wouldn’t be able to see what types of media their kids were storing. 

“If a child is trying to hide a photo or video, chances are it’s probably not something that needs to be living on any of their digital devices,” Jordan said.

However, according to Apple’s websites, there are ways for parents to control access to the Journal app. 

For instance, while Journal can use FaceID, it functions the same way FaceID does on any other iPhone app. If the FaceID fails, the phone will ask for a passcode. If a parent knows the passcode for the phone, they’ll be able to get into the Journal app.

You can also delete the Journal app if you’re concerned about it, Apple says, and there are settings in the “Screen Time” controls that would let parents disable the phone’s ability to install new apps without parental permission. 

However, the app is more than likely sitting on your iPhone, and your child’s iPhone and the first part of controlling access to it is knowing it is there. 

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