You might think you know what your kids are doing on their smartphones, but there is a good chance that you don’t.
Sgt. Joey Payne with the Biloxi Police Department said, “In 2007, when the first smartphone hit the market, our world changed. How we enforced laws changed. How we investigate changed and also how we parent had to change.”
Researchers say teens spend between six to nine hours a day in front of screens. Do you know everything your child is doing on their phones? Chances are that you don’t.
“They started learning how to hide things from their parents. So we recommend all parents know their kids’ phones, know the apps, and most of the phones if you set them up they have to use a code to download the apps. If you provide your child with a smartphone, set it up so they can only download stuff if they come to you first so you know what they are downloading.”
There are many apps out now that are meant to hide other apps, pictures, videos, and text messages. Some popular secret apps are called ‘Private Calculator,’ ‘H-I-P,’ or ‘Hide it Pro,’ and ‘Vaulty.’
Although these apps are meant to be kept a secret, there are ways to find them on your child’s phone. “A lot of times they can hide those apps that they put on their phone. You need to go to the search bar and type in these apps on the search bar to see if it is on your phone just periodically.”
If you ever find your child in a situation where they are being bullied or harassed online, Biloxi PD recommends telling your local police department and officials at your child’s school. “Any app can be used for cyberbullying. There is a cyberbully statute in the state of Mississippi that we can actually charge somebody with.”
Sgt. Payne recommends doing online searches every few months for secret apps used by teens.