Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Attention Parents of Teens: DECOY APPS, Ever Heard of 'Em? Step 1: Educate.

Ok parents, it's that time again! Two years ago, I wrote Wake Up and Smell the Sexting about Apps for parents to keep their eyes out for. Two years later, these companies have gotten more clever now suddenly coming up with ways to hide the intent of certain apps. Unfortunately, many of our teens have caught on to this as well! Trying to stay one step ahead of them is tough, so I hope this tidbit of information is useful. Our parental technology nemesis goes by the name of DECOY APPS! Google them! And, guess what?

They're free!

These apps look harmless enough. Some have cutesy little icons, some are boring ole calculators, some are flowers, rainbows, and cool designs. The problem? Mom and Dad see them on their kids iPods or iPhones and think nothing of them. In our defense, it isn't like the icon screams "I'm hiding innappropriate photos from you, woman!!!" Who would think a cute little umbrella could be so deceiving?

Enter decoy apps. 

Decoy: "to lure or entice a person away from the intended course"

Keep an eye out for these icons on your kids Smartphones and iPods.

Private Photo Vault: “The Best and Most Private Photo and Video App for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch. Over 3,000,000 people trust Private Photo Vault to keep information hidden”. Is your kid one of them? Rated #1 in Decoy Feature

Private Pics FREE: “The perfect app to keep people from accidentally seeing their private pictures."

Don’t Touch My Pics FREE: “Keep your private and incriminating photos away from prying eyes.”

Unless your Calculator App icon looks like this:

It’s a decoy app!!! Even if you open the app, it looks and works just like a calculator but a code will activate the app to take you to another screen revealing hidden pics and videos that are not shown in the regular iPhone album!

Steer clear of these:

Hi Calculator: Private Album.

Private Calculator: File Hider and Secret Photo/Video vault.

Secret Photo & Video Calculator:  Private storage for videos and pics.

Private Photo: “App is private photos and videos hidden behind a calculator”

And those are just a FEW of the calculator decoy apps!

Continued decoy app icons:

Dot Lock My Data Lite: “Security Protection suite for secret photos, videos, notes, and folders”

Private Photo: “The perfect application for anyone who wants to keep people from accidentally seeing their private photos and videos.”

HiFolder: “Hidden Private Photo Albums and Secrets”

HiDisk: “If you have a chance to possess a cool app that can secure your privacy, save time, and enrich your life, will you allow yourself to miss it?” –Photo and video vault

Your secret folder:  “You can create, organize, and protect private folders, albums, photos, and videos. Bonus: Discreet icon!”

Lock Photo and Video Vault: “Great app to hide pics and videos from unwanted guests. Rated #1 in hiding pics!

Best Secret Folder: “Best place to hide passwords and dirty pics”

And notice "Hottest in iTunes Sync Right Now"! And, again, it's FREE.

Do with the info what you may. Maybe you're the parent who wants to give them their privacy and feels this is too "stalkerish". Maybe you're the parent who opted not to let your teen have a iPod or SmartPhone (I applaud you!). 

I happen to be the parent somewhere in between. I let my kids have these devices with stipulations, that, if not met, the phone is mine.

Our kids may resent our rules for now, but remember we aren't here to be #friends #instacool #fun

We are #family. 

A few years down the road, they'll understand that hashtag is the one that's always mattered most and they will appreciate the boundaries and rules given to help them get through their technologically-way-too-advanced-teen years.

In the meantime, it is definitely going to take a village.....

A great source of information on Apps: