CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- They've been out for awhile, but it's surprising to see how many parents still don't know about them. Most of the apps are free to download, giving teens access to a secret folder on their smartphone. Parent Jack Dean says he's tries to stay on top of his kids' devices: "We insist that we have access to all their stuff. We have their passwords so we can see what they're doing."
But in this day in age, is that good enough? Clovis High School Principal Denver Stairs says no. "It's kind of one of those things that are ever changing so we do our best to know what's going and kind of what's current." Some of the popular ones like Calculator%, Ky-Calc, or Best Secret Folder are disguised as a fully functioning calculator or utilities folder. But when a secret pass code is entered, it unlocks a whole new gateway for your child.
Stairs explains, "It will say 'hide your sexy your sexy pictures here.' Or 'hide pictures from parents,' hide documents. That kind of thing." For example, the Ky-Calc app has a secret web browser, a hidden folder for images, even a separate contact list parents would not be aware of.
But the dangers could go far beyond secretive texting and image sharing with friends. Stairs showed us a video chat app called "Omegle" that's marketed as a way to talk to strangers. "There's no guarantee who's on the other end and what they're gonna see. And that to me is very uh concerning." Tinder and other GPS location-based apps help users find other users nearby, putting kids at risk.
Stairs explained, "We've all heard those stories of the stalker or child predator that have the accounts that say they're 14 or 15 kids and when they find them, they're 45 year old men or women on the other end." And "disappearing photo" apps like Snapchat might embolden kids to send more explicit photos and texts than they would have before through traditional texting.
But New Covenant Community Church's children's pastor Chip Henderson says it's extremely important to help kids fully understand the ramifications. "Everything you post leaves a footprint and people will always have access to it? And even though you think it might get erased, it may always live on in the electronic world."
He says start early in teaching kids responsible device use -- no matter how young they are. "If you care about your kids and you care about the person the person they're going to be become, ultimately their character, you have to proactive when it comes to electronic devices."
Secret Apps Kids Use
Sneaky apps teens are using to hide information and images on their phone.