So-called secret mobile apps, which can be used by children to hide texts, images and videos from prying eyes, are drawing warnings and concern from officials and parents.
Louisiana resident Kristin Pinsonat, who keeps a close eye on her son’s phone, says she was shocked to find that Anthony, 16, had installed an app to hide files from his parents.
“They can do anything they want, and it's all locked with a passcode,” she said.
The issue frustrated Pinsonat, and her son admits that it wasn’t a bright move.
“Basically, I was hiding from my parents,” Anthony said. “And it was stupid, yeah.”
The apps are becoming so popular, a county district attorney in Alabama, Pamela Casey, posted a video to Facebook warning parents about the apps.
“I encourage you to look at your child’s phone,” she said. “If one child knows about it, many children know about it.”
Dan Tynan, editor in chief of Yahoo Tech Magazine, said the apps can look like ordinary functions such as a calculator, but when users enter a secret password, they have access to hidden files.
Adults can keep their children from using such apps by turning off their ability to install apps without parental approval, Tynan said.
“The problem with these apps is they allow kids to hide their cyber-lives from their parents,” Tynan said, “and sometimes the things they are hiding can harm them.”