There’s a parenting alert currently trending where kids are keeping secrets on their mobile devices. A new trend these days with kids who are using mobile devices seems to have them installing so-called secret apps that hide media like texts and photos from their parents. So how do these cyber secret keepers work? Well, it looks like kids are fooling their parents by hiding pictures and texts in a secret mobile apps disguised behind standard regular apps. There seems to be many different types out there but one of the more popular ones seems to be disguised as calculator apps. It looks nearly identical to a standard calculator application icon when installed on a cell phone. However, when you type in the correct number combinations when entering the calculator app, it opens to give you access to hidden pictures and files that won’t show up anywhere else on the phone. Apps like this are available under a number of different titles and iterations for iPhone and Android smart phones, and are usually filed in the iTunes and Google Play stores under the category called photo vaults.
Statistics show that over 70% of teens have hidden online activity from their parents. 53% achieve this by clearing their browser history, while 34% hide or delete messages, photos, or videos. And so, as we continue to advance down the technology highway, more and more apps are being created—more than we parents can keep up with. Unfortunately, many of the inappropriate ones are being downloaded by our children without us knowing about it and for some kids these apps allow them to hide their cyber-lives from their parents, which can do damage.
Monitoring your child’s device is one of the best ways to keep them safe. For instance, you can check your child’s phone and see that they suddenly have no browser history, or there is obviously chunks missing from various text conversations, it’s safe to assume they’re taken steps to hide that from you. Also too, IOS and Android have built-in parental controls and restrictions when it comes to purchasing and downloading apps so it might be a good idea to implement those measures as well.
One option you can use to help monitor their social activity on their phones is a service called TeenSafe (and you can find more at www.teensafe.com allows you to see deleted messages and social media activity that you might not otherwise know about.
While monitoring can help you discover if your teen is hiding information from you, the next step is just as important: talking to them. It is equally important to discuss with them how these apps are being used inappropriately and the possible consequences.