Secret phone apps have been a hot topic in the news lately about high school students, and noteworthy of discussing to bring awareness to the subject matter. As if life wasn’t scary enough for us parents, here is another issue for us to look for and monitor. The applications are not necessarily new, but the technology is constantly advancing. Private photo vault applications on smart phones can have the appearance of very basic images such as calculators and calendars. Once you open the application, you can enter a secret code or two, and this is where the dark side of smart phones can begin. Hidden images that students would not want their parents to see are being stored and shared by students. Students think these pictures are hidden on the apps, but there is nothing to say that the developers of these apps could not expose the pictures. These types of news stories have headlined nationally over the past year and are raising major concerns.
How can parents spot these vault applications, as most are rated E for everyone? Parents need to look for multiple versions of the same app on their child’s phone. The most common is the calculator app. Also, check your child’s phone history for new app downloads and then search the app with a Google search to understand its content.
Teens love similar applications that may be more familiar such as Snapchat, Kik, and Whisper. Again, all trending applications where messages seem to disappear, yet do they really? An article that I found extremely helpful with this information is linked here: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/snapchat-kik-and-6-more-iffy-messaging-apps-teens-love.
This article not only explains several trending applications, but offers very helpful information regarding each application, and outlining what parents need to know.
Helpful hints for parents (and most likely easier said than done!):
- Don’t let your children take their phones to bed with them at night.
- Don’t let them have a phone without parental supervision.
- If your child uses a family computer, keep it in the open, and under supervision.
Again, this is obviously not an easy subject matter, but it’s one that can even lead to severe legal penalties to the students and their parents. These types of things may not be the easiest to monitor or catch, but at least you have a few more clues on what to discuss openly with your child. Open communication may prevent the issue from even beginning. I wish all of you parents, and myself, the best of luck on this topic! Darn that social media!