Chances are if you have a child that’s elementary or middle school aged, the thing they want most is their own cell phone. Nowadays, phones can do everything that computers can do like access the internet, text, take photos and videos. Most parents are aware of apps like Snapchat that allow kids to communicate with each other using videos, photos or text messages that disappear after being viewed.
However, there’s a host of other apps that kids having been using to hide what they’re doing from their parents. In this blog I want to focus on one specifically, but here are two articles that talk about some other apps that kids are using that parents should be aware of.
The app is called “Calculator%” and is free on the Apple app store. If you go to the app store, it’s listed under “Private Photos (Calculator%)”, but when downloaded, shows up on the phone
icons as a calculator and mentions nothing about private photos. The app is used by kids to take, store, or send photos and videos that they don’t want their parents or others to see. There are several other “calculator” apps that hide photos that are free on the app store as well.
The app looks like a calculator so parents or adults don’t suspect anything if they look at their child’s phone. Once the app is opened, it looks like a calculator, too. When the app is first downloaded, a 4-digit numerical password is chosen by the user and that is the way the app is accessed from that point forward. Putting in the passcode isn’t enough to access the app. You must also type in a period before and after the code. So if my code is 1234, you open the app, type in .1234. and the calculator will open up the real app, which is albums of photos and videos that have been taken, sent or received.
The app is free, but for $1.99 the app can be upgraded to do more, including monitor for an “intruder” or someone that tries to access the app without their knowledge.
I can’t say that every child that has this app is up to no good. Yet, it has been used by kids to store, take, send and receive nude photographs. This can and does lead to cyberbullying, sexting, and kids committing suicide. Also, if someone is receiving or sending nude or inappropriate photos of kids under the age of 18, there is the potential for them to be charged with child pornography.
As a parent, it’s important to keep an eye on what your kids are doing. Educate yourself on what kids are using to communicate and talk to your kids about it.