In today’s digital age, mental health apps have become invaluable tools, offering support and guidance to individuals everywhere.
These apps can provide solace in times of need, but their use raises concerns about privacy and security. With exposure of personal information becoming increasingly prevalent, safeguarding your vulnerable data is paramount.
Recent investigations have revealed that many of the most popular mental health apps may not be as careful as they should be in protecting their users’ intimate information.
The concerns are multifaceted, from improper data sharing with advertisers to subpar privacy and security practices. Some apps fail to provide crucial security updates, putting users at risk. Other shadier mental health apps syphon personal data elsewhere.
This article sheds light on the risks associated with mental health apps and offers practical tips to ensure app security and safety. It also recommends mobile security software, which you can install on any smartphone device as a reliable layer of cybersecurity protection.
In a time when digital wellbeing is at stake, balancing mental health and cybersecurity is crucial.
The rise of mental health apps
In recent years, mental health apps have seen enormous popularity. These apps offer diverse features, from mood tracking and meditation guides to therapy sessions and crisis hotlines.
Their accessibility and convenience make them an attractive option for individuals after support and guidance for their mental health concerns.
The dark side of mental health apps
Mental health apps also come with significant risks. These apps often require access to super-sensitive personal information like your emotions, thoughts, and even location data.
While they declare to keep this data secure, investigations have revealed alarming failures in their security measures:
The biggest concern is the mishandling of user data. Some mental health apps have been found to share their customers’ sensitive data with third-party advertisers, compromising users’ privacy.
This practice can lead to intrusive targeted advertising and potential data breaches. A lack of cybersecurity in mental health apps then becomes notably counterproductive.
Inadequate security practices
Some mental health apps have low-grade privacy and security practices, leaving user data vulnerable to hackers and cyber threats. They may lack robust encryption protocols or fail to implement adequate user authentication measures.
As with most apps, neglecting essential security updates also becomes a critical issue. Some mental health apps fail to provide timely updates to address known vulnerabilities, and this oversight can leave users exposed to potential cyberattacks and data breaches.
7 tips for safer mental health app usage
Despite concerns, users can take measures to feel confident that their data is stored safely on mental health apps. Here are some tips:
1. Research and read reviews
Before downloading any app, do some research. Read user reviews, check the app’s website for information on privacy and security practices, and avoid apps with a history of privacy issues.
2. Permission and privacy policies
3. Keep apps updated
Regularly update the app to include the latest security patches and enable automatic updates if available. Doing this helps protect your data from known vulnerabilities.
4. Strong passwords and two-factor authentication
If your mental health app requires an account, use strong, unique passwords, and consider enabling two-factor authentication for an extra level of defence.
5. Secure network connections
Only connect to secure and trusted Wi-Fi networks when using mental health apps. Avoid public Wi-Fi networks, which can be less secure and more susceptible to hacking.
6. Be cautious with personal information
Exercise caution when sharing sensitive personal information within the app. Only disclose what you’re comfortable with, and avoid sharing full names or addresses.
7. Mobile security software
Consider installing trusted mobile security software from an award-winning software company such as ESET to add an extra layer of protection against malware and privacy threats on your mobile devices.
Secure your digital mental health tools
As we continue to prioritise our mental health, it’s just as crucial for these apps to do their bit in guaranteeing digital security. While it’s clear that mental health apps support individuals to better their wellbeing, the dark side of these apps should not be ignored.
To balance mental health and cybersecurity effectively, users must take a proactive approach. By following the provided tips and installing cybersecurity solutions, individuals can enjoy the benefits of mental health apps without compromising their data and overall wellbeing.