Hidden Apps and How to Find Them On Your Child’s Phone

Hidden Apps and How to Find Them On Your Child's Phone

You’re doing your job as a parent. You’re regularly checking your child’s phone to make sure they are using it appropriately, and you’re reviewing their app list to ensure they are only using apps you have approved.

But this may not be enough.

Kids have found a way around their parent’s smartphone checks and are now storing secret, hidden apps that hide the true contents of their phone.

What Is Your Teen Hiding on Their Phone?

A new type of smartphone application looks like regular, harmless app, but is actually designed to hide information.

These ghost, secret, or vault apps store information that your child or teen doesn’t want you to see such as:

  • Photos
  • Text Messages
  • Contact Lists
  • Internet Browsing History

You Might Also Like: Parental Text Message Monitoring Isn’t Snooping, It’s About Safety

What Hidden Apps Are Kids Using?

A few of the most popular ghost, secret, and vault apps include the following.

Private Photo (Calculator%) — This app looks like a standard calculator app, but once you enter the password, you can access a secret folder where you can store images and files.

Private Browser and Photo (calculator%) — This vault app also looks like a calculator. Once you enter the passcode, you can browse the web and your internet history will only be visible in the app.

Calculator + Secret Photos App — Another app that appears to be a calculator, this ghost application allows users to store secret photos, passwords, notes, contacts, and browser history.

Best Secret Folder — This app claims to be, “Extremely Hard to Notice.” It stores videos and photos in a secret folder that will lock or activate an alarm if an intruder tries to log in.

CoverMe (Private Texting & Anonymous Messaging with Secure Phone Calls App) — Designed as a “secure messaging app,” CoverMe provides a private vault that hides personal contacts, messages, call logs, notes, photos, and videos.

These are just a few of the hidden apps that are available today, and it is likely that new versions will continue to enter the market. So, what should parents do about it?

What Can Parents Do About Hidden Apps?

The first thing parents need to do is become aware of the situation.

Knowing about these apps is the first step in prohibiting their use. 

“We realize that kids are not one, but ten steps ahead of their parents in term of technology, so parents have to be on guard and become familiar with what is going on,” explained Rania Mankarious of Crime Stoppers of Houston in an interview with ABC Eyewitness News.

Next, parents need to take action to stop their children from using these hidden apps. While you may not be able to tell which apps are secretive by browsing the app lists on your child’s phone (as some apps look harmless or may not show on the main screen), you can look at their recent download list.

Parents need to regularly review the apps their child has downloaded, and then research the apps so they understand their purpose and function. 

Being proactive and staying connected to your child in their digital world will always be one of the best ways to prevent your child from making dangerous mistakes online.

Connecting with your child online is easy with the MamaBear Peace of Mind Parenting™ app that enables you to check your child’s social media activity and texting habits from your phone. The free app which is available for both iPhones and Androids helps you stay in the know about your child’s smartphone habits.

How To Use Bear2Bear – MamaBear’s Customer Referral Program

mamabear referral program

Refer a friend and become a premium member for FREE.

MamaBear’s customer referral program allows you to share an exclusive link with your favorite friends to give them the gift of MamaBear’s family safety app. With each new referred registration, your friends will receive free premium service and you will continue to extend your free premium service with every new friend that registers.

Here’s How:

 

Once your friends successfully create a new MamaBear family account, they will see their premium service expiration date in the settings/subscription area of the app menu.  You will also receive a premium upgrade for the same period of time and see your expiration date extend with every registration tied to your exclusive link shared.  The period of time may vary based on seasonal promotions, but the share message will say the time length of the upgrade. 

Here’s Why:

You and your friends will enjoy MamaBear’s premium service.

  • No more ads!
  • View historical location stopping patterns for your kids for up to 7 previous days
  • View unlimited number of liked Instagram photos
  • Scroll through unlimited profiles of your child’s connections on social media
  • Priority customer service

Refer often, give the gift of safety and expand your peace of mind with MamaBear premium services. 

 

**Should you already be a premium subscriber, your expiration will be extended for the additional time. Premium service is applied to all family members on the same account. The referral program is for new family registrations only.  If you’d like to add guardians to an existing account, please use the ‘Add Guardian’ option in the app menu.

 

 

YouTube Kids App Isn’t As Safe As It Sounds

It turns outs that even when a platform is designed with kids in mind, it isn't always as safe as it seems -- as it was with the YouTube Kids App.

When a website or app releases a new “kid-friendly” version of their platform, it sounds like it should be good news for parents.

With so much content online, managing what kids consume is often a big undertaking for parents. So an app designed exclusively for kids, with guards set up to prevent them from finding inappropriate content sounds like a break for parents.

But it turns out that even when a platform is designed with kids in mind, it isn’t always as safe as it seems — as it was with the YouTube Kids App.

What Is the YouTube Kids App?

Many kids enjoy watching YouTube, which includes a large library of kid-friendly content. But the platform, designed for adults, isn’t an ideal tool for young children.

In February of this year, Google (which owns YouTube) launched YouTube Kids, an app that gives younger kids an opportunity to enjoy their own, age-appropriate version of the video platform.

The new app, compatible for tablets and smartphones, was designed with kids in mind. The dashboard looks like a toy with bigger buttons, easy to navigate menus and intuitive playback options.

As for the content, YouTube claimed to curate age-appropriate videos, channels and playlists.

While YouTube Kids didn’t exactly say there would be only age-appropriate content available on the app, it sounded like it was a totally safe space for children to explore on their own.

But that wasn’t the case.

What Went Wrong?

An article on CNN Money reports that a consumer group has uncovered multiple examples of inappropriate content available on YouTube Kids.

Among the content were cartoons that looked harmless at first glance but were actually discussing playing with matches, tasting battery acid, tying a noose and tasting beer.

The iTunes page for YouTube Kids says that it uses “a mix of input from our users and automated analysis to categorize and screen out the videos that make parents nervous.” But that is in no way a foolproof solution.

Google is aware of the situation and working to resolve the issue; but in the meantime, parents need to be aware of what this means for their children.

Is YouTube Kids Safe For Your Children?

YouTube Kids is a better alternative than standard YouTube, but that doesn’t mean you can leave your child to manage their experience on their own.

Parents should carefully monitor the videos their children discover and report any content that is inappropriate or questionable. They can also use the app’s grown-up-only options to turn off search, limiting the content their children can find.

Related Post: YouTube Parental Controls and What Every Parent Needs to Know 

When it comes to online content, there really is no time when a parent can sit back and expect the platform to monitor the content on its own. Parents always need to remain vigilant of their children’s online media consumption, even when it is advertised as age-appropriate.

In an increasingly complex digital world, parents can use online tools like MamaBear, for Peace of Mind Parenting™ to help monitor their children’s experience with online content. The free app, available for iPhones and Androids, makes it easy for parents to connect with their children’s social media accounts and better monitor their online activity.

 

MamaBear’s Most Popular Posts in 2014

MamaBear Most Popular 2014 Posts

2014 was the biggest year yet for kids and parents experiencing life in the digital world. To help parents navigate their families across all the challenges, MamaBear published dozens of articles for parents looking for online safety tips, teenage social media trends, and advice about digital parenting. Among all the great content, following are the 5 most popular posts our readers loved the most.

2015-01-16_1219

1. MamaBear’s List of Apps Parents Should Ban

It may seem like an oxymoron, but in 2014, the big trend in social media apps was secrecy.

Multiple apps that allowed users to create anonymous accounts became popular with tweens and teens — which created a problem for parents.

The anonymity offered by apps like Whisper, Secret, Ask.fm and others put many youths at risk for being bullied, harassed, or approached by dangerous strangers. Parents used MamaBear’s List of Apps Parents Should Ban to get them in the know.

2. Top Five Messaging Apps for Tweens and Teens

The post gave parents a look at the popular apps kids are using to communicate with their friends (and possibly even strangers).

  1. WhatsApp Messenger
  2. Kik
  3. LINE
  4. SnapChat
  5. Viber

We heard a lot about SnapChat this year and most recently about a hack of third party SnapChat apps leading to hundreds of thousands of photos leaked online. We covered some highpoints about the media coined “Snappening.”

3. The Best Apps for Parents in 2014

Last year wasn’t all about apps for kids. Our MamaBear parents appreciated The Best Apps for Parents in 2014 throughout the year with helpful,  time-saving and fun apps that parents could enjoy.

  • iReward Chart
  • Evite
  • Cozi Family Organizer
  • Open Table
  • Fandango
  • Great Clips
  • Splice
  • Allrecipes Dinner Spinner
  • Fav Today
  • MamaBear

Looking for even more apps for parents? Stay tuned. MamaBear will be releasing the 2015 list of the best apps for moms in our next blog post.

4. Tips For Giving Your Child Their First Smartphone For the Holidays

Giving the responsibility of a cell phone to a child is a nerve-racking experience for most parents. So it’s no surprise that our post Tips For Giving Your Child Their First Smartphone For the Holidays was one of the year’s most popular.

The post explains how a cell phone for your child can be beneficial to both child and parent when the proper steps are followed. Read details of our recommended process to include:

  1. Setting Parental Controls
  2. Discussing Usage and Set Limits
  3. Reviewing Social Media Guidelines, Privacy, and Rules
  4. Creating Your Own Cell Phone Contract
  5. Installing an App that Connects and Protects

This article isn’t just a holiday read. It’s an excellent resource for parents who are about to give phones to their kids any time of the year.

5. Dangers of Talking to Strangers Online

Learning that nearly 60% of teens have received an email or instant message from a stranger online made the Dangers of Talking to Strangers Online an important topic for 2014.

Parents used the article to learn about a new list of chat apps and common chat slang that kids use to hide the meaning of their messages from their parents.

These are just a few of the family safety and digital parenting resources MamaBear created this year. We have way more where that came from!

Check out archived posts, look out for new ones, and download the MamaBear Family Safety App (available for both iPhones and Androids) so we can help make protecting and parenting your family easier in 2015.