Warning: Secret “Vault” Apps Encourage Teenagers to Hide Inappropriate Images
By Tess Farrand, Staff Writer
Teenagers in 2018 are technologically savvy. With access to loads of information, these teenagers know how to capitalize on the ebbs and flows of modern technology. Although there are some positives for teenagers and tech, new reports show that some teenagers are finding sneaky ways to keep their tech ventures private.
Alabama District Attorney Pamela Casey warned parents back in 2015 about an app called “Calculator%.” The app poses as a standard phone calculator but when opened, users are prompted to put in a password that leads them to private files such as videos or photos. In this way, teenagers can conceal content right under the noses of their parents.
British police started to investigate the app and its dangers which brings up the current dialogue concerning these types of “vault” apps among parental control-type sites. Business Insider further breaks down how Calculator% app developers strategically implemented steps for concealing content on smartphones. The article states, “Users download the app and its icon looks like an innocuous calculator. Once open, users can input a secret code into the calculator, and it opens a secret vault of images and video concealed to anyone without access.”
Michelle Woo, columnist for “Offspring” urges, “Does your kid seem extra enthusiastic about addition and multiplication these days? I’m sorry to break it to you, but the calculator app he’s been grinning at all evening may not be the trusty math device that it seems.”
Of course, there are things that should be kept private like passwords and financial records, but apps like Calculator% aren’t attempting to shield the normal privacy concerns. As Shelby Brown so aptly puts, “having limitless information at their fingertips might give children a false sense of maturity.”
Calculator% is no longer available on the app store, but there is healthy speculation that other such “vault” apps exist.
Parents, please be mindful of your children’s attitude towards technology, and the amount they spend on it. Encourage your children about the risks of creating and storing scandalous information or sending it to friends or significant others. In recent months, Movieguide® reported on a mobile challenge that prompted self-harm and suicide, so there is a lot to be mindful of when it comes to our children’s media interaction. Sadly, we can’t assume that the world will be kind to our children and teenagers. Moving forward, it’s paramount that we practice discernment when it comes to all things digital.
For more resources on media-wisdom, click here to read informative books by Movieguide® founder, Dr. Ted Baehr.