By: Elizabeth Hopkins and Jesse Grossi, WFXT – Boston
BOSTON – Kids and teens will pick up the newest technology fast as they head back to school, and that means they could be using apps that could put them in danger without parents even realizing it.
Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are all popular, but WFXT uncovered obscure apps that should keep parents on alert.
Robert Siciliano, online security expert with Hotspot Shield, said what you don’t know can harm your kids.
“There are apps out there today that look and act like apps we know and trust, but they are in fact ruses – fake apps designed to confuse or lie to the parent,” Siciliano said.
Siciliano took WFXT through a list of apps parents might not know about and fall off their radars:
Siciliano said this app is designed to mask itself as the calculator app and the parent would not know that the child installed it to hide all their inappropriate pictures.
He said this app is a decoy. It’s designed to pose as the audio manager for the phone, but it is in fact there to mask and hide inappropriate photos and inappropriate text messages – essentially, anything the child wants to hide from the parents.
Snapchat is old news for some kids and teens, and “Burn Note” is becoming more popular. Siciliano said, “Burn Note is essentially is designed like Snapchat to hide and mask data and in the end it erases or deletes any instant messages quickly and efficiently so parents can’t see it.”
Siciliano says savvy online predators are lurking on apps on your child’s smartphone and you might not even know it. He warns parents to take a look to see if their kids are using Omegle.
“Omegle is another one of those apps that can facilitate chats with complete strangers, so your child could be communicating with a user named 14-year-old Charlie who is 40-year-old Ed and your kid or you may never know it,” Siciliano told WFXT.
He advises a simple step for parents to take to keep an eye on their kids’ apps.
“It’s really important that parents set up their devices so that they sync up with iCloud so that parents know exactly what apps are being installed on the child’s device. That way, if a child installs an app, it’s installed on the parents’ device, as well,” Siciliano said.