How to Spot Hiding Apps
Seeking out these hiding apps is a tedious game of hide-and-seek, except it’s not a game. Our kids’ reputations, futures, and online safety are on the line. As parents, it’s our job to protect our kids from online dangers and from themselves. We know teenagers are hardwired to make bad decisions. We’ve all been there.
So how do you spot hiding apps that are so good at hiding? We’ll give you a few pointers.
Let’s start with the obvious: Check each and every app on your kid’s smartphone. If you’re lucky, they’re using a hiding app that doesn’t camouflage as a different app. If not, check the usual suspects: utility apps, such as calculator, calendar, notes, and flashlight. If they have two of the same app, one may be a decoy.
Another place to check is your credit card statements. It seems far-fetched, but many hiding apps charge a premium for advanced features. If your kid paid for it using your credit card or a secondary credit card tied to yours, you’ll find it on your card statement.
There are more technical methods to go about seeking these hiding apps. On an Android phone, for example, you can check the built-in file explorer to look for suspicious folders. Some decoy apps change their app icon once installed, but they usually use their real name when creating folders within the system.
On an iOS device (iPhone), go to Settings, then General, and then Storage. You’ll see a list of apps and how much storage space they take up. Calculator, flashlight, and other utility apps don’t normally use more than 50 MB of storage, so a calculator app that takes up more than 100 MB is probably hiding something else.
With a little bit of investigative work, you can find out if your kid is using a decoy app.