Children today have the entire world at their fingertips. This can be advantageous but it also comes with threats. Online safety needs to be a top priority for parents today.
As technology advances, it’s now a bigger concern than it has ever been before.
Make Sure This Secret Calculator Isn’t on Your Child’s Phone
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Now there is something new for parents to worry about – a secret calculator vault app.
It looks like a regular calculator on your child’s phone or tablet – but it actually hides other apps – social media accounts, private photos, messaging, etc.
Secret Calculator Vault
There are many different versions of this app out there but they all behave in basically the same way.
Some of the common features of these secret calculator vaults include:
- Hides apps
- Password protected – so you need to know a password to access the hidden apps
- The hidden app can be used in the Calculator Vault and also used on the main interface of the phone. This means your child could have separate social media accounts that you don’t know about.
- Hides apps from the list of recently used apps
- Gallery Module hides pictures and videos that you don’t want others to see
- Has a hidden camera – uses the phone/tablets camera to take photos, but saves them to a secret gallery instead of the main gallery
This is obviously concerning for parents of pre-teens and teens because this type of app opens up numerous threats to your child that you’ve probably been trying to monitor and protect them from.
Since 32% of children ages 8 to 11 already have a smartphone, this is a real concern for many parents.
Risks of Secret Calculator Vault
If your child is using this app, and you don’t know about it, there are various online risks they’re being exposed to.
- Cyber Bullying – You may monitor or restrict social media use to keep your child safe from cyberbullying. However, if they’ve got secret accounts hidden behind an app – you won’t know if your child is being bullied online.
Cyberbullying may go unnoticed – since it’s not seen or heard in schools, for example. However, it can have damaging effects on children.
- Permanency of Actions Online – This is hopefully something you’ve talked to your child about. However, still many don’t understand the long-term permanence of the actions they take online.
Personal information, negative and hurtful content, photos, are all things that others can find online far after they’ve been posted including anyone from online predators to future employers.
- Online Predators – Everyone online is not who they claim they are. It’s easier than ever to catfish someone (which means to lure someone by using an online persona).
Children and teens are more likely to believe what they’re told. Especially children who struggle with social skills and finally feel like they’ve got a friend or someone who cares about them.
Children may be manipulated into sending photos or videos, or into sharing personal information that puts them at risk for abduction, such as the name of their school or their address.
Checking Your Child’s Devices
Not all secret vault apps are disguised as calculators. Some look like games or other normal apps.
You could go through each app on your child’s phone to check. But, a quicker way is to go into the phone’s settings and check the camera permissions. You’ll see which apps have permission to use the phone’s camera.
If anything looks unusual there, you know which app to investigate farther. Since obviously a calculator and most games don’t need access to the camera at all.
Protecting Your Child
Whether your child already has a phone or a tablet, or you’re considering it, you need to find a way to keep your child’s device safe.
The best way to do this is by using a parental control app that monitors your child’s device.
Our family uses Qustodio and they make it so simple for me to supervise and manage what they’re doing on their devices.
My daughter was going into the Play Store on her tablet and downloading tons of apps – she didn’t really understand what she was doing. But, Qustodio lets me have control over which apps she downloads. I have to enter in the parent pin on my own phone to grant her permission to download new apps.
It’s a relief to know that as my kids get older they won’t be able to download apps like the secret calculator vault because Qustodio will alert me before it’s even possible.
Qustodio has tons of featured designed to make your child’s online safety easy to manage.
- Basic Protection: Qustodio’s world-class web filtering engine, time limits, and reporting features.
- Games and App Blocking: Decide which games and applications can be used and when.
- Youtube Monitoring: See what your child searches for and watches on the YouTube Android app and YouTube website.
- Time Limits: Easily set a time schedule or limits for how much internet time is allowed each day.
- Call Tracking on Android: See who your child calls most and block unwanted numbers on Android.
- Family Locator: See where your child has been and know they’re safe now.
- Advanced Facebook Monitoring: See their posts, friends, pictures and more.
- Text Message Monitoring: See who your child texts and read text messages.
- Advanced Reporting: Receive a full 30-day breakdown of your child’s activity directly in your inbox on a daily or weekly basis.
Keep Your Child Safe Online
- Discuss internet safety with your child in a fun, informative way.
Tell them how exciting the internet is but that they need to take care and be responsible. (By the way – check out these 15 best apps for children with autism for some great safe ideas)
- Stay involved and maintain a continuous dialogue with your child.
Show interest and let them teach you as you teach them.
- Explain that they can always talk to you and show you anything they see or get sent online. Make sure they understand that you’re there to help and protect them. Reassure them that they won’t be in trouble.
- Make sure your child understands why they should not share personal information.
- Explain to your child how anything shared online, even privately, can become public. Remind them that what they post can be forever and they need to think before sharing.
- Help them understand why meeting new online contacts must be discussed and agreed with you.
- Discuss why we use passwords to protect all of our online accounts and how they should never be shared with anyone else.
- Monitor activities on all devices used by your child. When you see a cause for concern, discuss before it can become an issue.
- Use age-appropriate restrictions on devices, where possible. Such as restricting websites, social media accounts, or adding time limits to apps with Qustodio.
I know we all think “my child would never do that”. But the truth is many children are using these secret vault apps and more.
The best way to keep your child safe online is by being proactive and using a parental monitoring app.