Hidden Apps: What You Need To Know To Protect Your Child

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With so many apps out there, it can be hard keeping track of the latest technologies kids are using.

And now, some kids are using apps to hide their social media footprint — and programs that could connect them with strangers.

“It’s hiding all kinds of videos, photos, other things that they don’t want you to see, and the question is, why wouldn’t they want you to see it?” cyber security expert Ian Marlow told CBS2’s Alex Denis. “But, these kind of back door apps are there.”

One app looks like a default calculator that comes with the iPhone, with slightly different color patterns. At face, the app works the same way a normal calculator would, but it also allows users to enter a secret passcode that connects them to a secret storage area where photos and videos can be uploaded and saved.

The photos stored there are not backed up in iCloud, and if deleted, can be restored with the touch of a button.

“It actually helps you to create a decoy to fool family and friends,” Marlow said.

Apps like Ask FM and Whisper allow users to post thoughts and pose questions anonymously. Threads are filtered by groups or even location.

With a slide of a button, kids can have direct access to people just blocks away. Some of the questions are innocent, but others can be more risque.

Users are also able to respond, potentially allowing strangers to start conversations with children.

“It’s that aggregation of information together that allows a predator to zero in on a particular child,” Marlow said. “Especially ones that are posing specific questions of a specific type.”

So parents, protect your children, and keep tabs on their tablets.

“There’s a couple like it out on the market that give you control over the phone,” Marlow said. “You can actually block out certain app usage, or usage of the tablet or phone completely.”

Marlow also suggests parents check the app store to monitor the latest trends in app downloads.

More From CBS New York

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
Get Our Morning Briefs
Bloomberg WCBS Tri-State Business Index

Watch & Listen LIVE