Are Your Kids Using Secret Apps to Hide Their Stuff?

You may be surprised at what your kids are hiding on their phones with these apps.

Eric Escobar
4-minute read
Episode #217

It’s absolutely mind blowing the amount of computing power that today’s phones contain. Not to mention that with these devices you can communicate with anyone in the world, and have a wealth of information at your fingertips. Many children have access to this technology, and there are apps that can help them conceal their activity on their phone.

Today, I'll share the apps your kids may be using to hide messages, pictures, or browsing history from you, as well as how to tell whether they might be doing so:

Why Hide Something?

You may be thinking “Why hide anything at all when a strong password can even keep the FBI out of your phone!?"

That’s true to some extent. If a child were to put a passcode lock in place, it could definitely keep out a parent. However, that generally leads to a device getting taken away. Most parents that I know have a strong policy that they must know the password of any device or account that their child has. In this circumstance, it might be useful if you’re the child to have an app that wouldn’t raise any red flags.

What Should You Look For?

The largest culprit out there are a string of apps that are designed to look like calculators. It’s pretty clever because every phone has a calculator, and if you didn’t know what to look for odds are, you’d skip right over it and not think anything of it.

What’s even more incredible, though, is that these apps are actual working calculators for the most part. You can do basic calculations, so even if you were a bit suspicious about an app, it would totally check out. The only way that it would unlock would be if you typed the right sequence of keys. This would then unlock the app, giving access to pictures, videos, web browsers, secret notes, you name it!

Unfortunately, there’s no way to list all of the apps out there that do this because they come and go very quickly. What’s important are looking for the signs of an app like this.

What Are the Signs?

Here are some pro tips to help you spot a hidden app. If you walk into the room and you child puts their phone away quickly or hits the home button to exit an app, there’s a really easy way to see what exactly they were looking at. Once you have their phone unlocked and at the home screen, simply double tap (two fast presses) of the home button on an iPhone and you’ll see the last apps in use on the phone. From there you can pretty easily see whatever it was. On an Android phone you can go into “Settings” -> “More” -> “Application Manager” and you can see what apps are currently running.


About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.