When it comes to protecting the privacy and security of their users, mental health and prayer apps would be far from flawless. This is the sad observation made by the Mozilla Foundation after conducting an extensive study of 32 applications. Of these 32 applications such as Talksapce, Better Help or Calm, 28 received the“privacy not included” tag and 25 simply did not meet minimum security requirements, including the requirement for strong passwords.
While these apps deal with particularly heavy topics – depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, domestic violence or eating disorders – they very regularly share multiple data, allow easy-to-crack passwords and target weaker users with targeted ads.
“The vast majority of mental health and prayer apps are exceptionally scary“said Jen Caltrider, responsible for this new Mozilla guide, in a communicated. “They track, share and exploit users’ innermost personal thoughts and feelings, such as moods, mental state and biometric data.”
“Hundreds of millions of dollars are invested in these apps despite their flaws“, says Misha Rykov, co-author of this guide, who regrets that these platforms are in fact “a wolf in sheep’s clothing“.
Particularly vulnerable adolescents
According to the guide, parents whose children and teens use these apps should pay particular attention to how their data is handled. Indeed, these applications often target young people, including adolescents, age groups who suffer especially mental health issues.
The pandemic of Covid-19 has also made it easier to use mental health apps, due to increasingly longer deadlines. If they sought to fill this void and occupy the niche, the applications would not ultimately be the best alternative, unfortunately less reliable than the use of real health professionals.
- Mental Health AppsMozilla,
- Top mental health and prayer apps fail spectacularly at privacy, security, Mozilla, May 2, 2022
- Our brain would have a system of cleaning unpleasant thoughts
- Depression: no, antidepressants do not always bring happiness
- To combat pain and anxiety, adopt a dog