I have written a few blog posts in the past about what parents can do to keep their kids safe online. In general my advice has been:
COMMUNICATE, TALK & LISTEN TO YOUR CHILD.
GET UP TO SPEED AND STAY UP TO SPEED WITH TECHNOLOGY, AT LEAST HAVE A CLUE.
KNOW THE LINGO.
USE PARENTAL CONTROL SOFTWARE.
I am a big proponent of parents talking with their children and being nosy. However, being nosy is becoming more difficult. Let’s say you are a parent that believes kids should only expect 100% privacy when they grow up and move out of your house. You randomly take a look at their computer, tablet or cell phone to see what they have been up to, especially the cell phone.
There are apps that are designed to do one thing – hide files, messages, videos, and pictures. If a kid is using one of these apps, he or she will likely have no problem handing over their phone to you because they know you will not find anything.
Technology (including some of the apps below) is not necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on who is using the technology and for what purpose.
Here is a brief list of some of the “Hiding Apps.”
KEEPSAFE – Overview of Features
Protect up to 200 pictures.
Use a PIN to lock out everyone.
Quick lock – turn your phone face down and KeepSafe automatically locks files you don’t want others to access.
Secret Door – Disguises KeepSafe as a totally different app.
Fake PIN – Type in your fake pin number and you are taken to a vault that you have already filled with files, videos or pictures that not even the Pope would find objectionable. Of course the real KeepSafe Pin keeps hidden all of the other items you REALLY don’t want anyone to see.
VAULT – Overview of Features
Photo and video protection – must know password in order to see the photos or videos.
Private Contacts – messages, call logs and texts from private contacts are hidden.
Camouflage App Lock – Let’s say you see an app on your child’s phone that you do not approve of. Your child tells you it is no big deal because it does not even work. The child launches the app and it does not work, it APPEARS to crash. Don’t be fooled. The app works. Your child has simply included that particular app as one of his or her camouflage apps and Vault makes it seem like the app always crashes. The app works just fine when you supply the password.
SMART HIDE CALCULATOR – Overview
Yes, on the surface this app is a fully functional calculator. However, under the hood, it allows you to hide files, apps, photos and videos. All you have to do is supply the password and press the equal button and the handy dandy little calculator opens up an interface that allows you to access all of your hidden goodies.
SECRET CALCULATOR – Overview
Secret Calculator works pretty much like Smart Hide Calculator. It is a real calculator, but supply the password and the door is opened to all of your hidden stuff.
HIDE IT PRO – Overview
This app is basically a secret vault masquerading as an audio manager app. Supply the password and the app will give you access to your hidden files which reside behind the audio manager screen\interface.
VAULTY – Overview
This app hides your private pictures and videos. You must supply the password in order to gain access. Be careful parents when trying to open Vaulty. Vaulty has an interesting mug shot feature. If someone supplies the wrong password, the app will use the phones camera to take a picture and save it in the vault.
POOF – Overview
The Poof app is used to hide other apps. Once you download and install Poof to your phone, it scans your phone for apps. Poof presents you with a list of apps. You can toggle the on or off button next to each app to display or hide an app.
HIKE – Overview
Hike is a private messenger app. With Hike you no longer have to delete chat messages you don’t want people to see. After you type in your Hike password, you can send and receive all the chat messages you want. Once you close Hike, those messages are automatically hidden.
WHAT CAN YOU DO
Talk, listen, guide, and help your child. Let your child know that online choices can have offline consequences.
Adjust the settings (see links below) on the phone before you give it to your child.
Install parental control software on the device before your child ever touches it.
Be calm and relaxed if you find out your child is hiding things. Communicate. Ask why they feel the need to hide things. Your child may be more tech savvy than you are, but you have a Ph.D. in life experiences. Use those experiences to help your child navigate the world we live in today.
There are many companies that sell parental control software. Before going that route, take a look at what your own cell phone service provider has to offer. You never know, they just may meet your needs. Click on the links below.
It is your job to do all you can to keep your child safe.