Children are so clever at hiding things, aren’t they? But sometimes their secrets can land them in hot water, as is the case with several students involved in a widespread sexting scandal at a Colorado high school.
Authorities say more than 100 under-aged students were discovered to be part of a massive “sexting ring,” according to the Associated Press. The children involved range from middle school students to varsity high school football players, exchanging approximately 400 nude photos.
The sexting scandal has shaken up a Colorado community, and it serves as a warning to all parents: Giving kids’ unbridled access to mobile devices can harm them.
The students were utilizing a new way to keep secrets from their parents, using a so-called “vault app,” thus preventing parents from seeing certain photos and messages on their smartphones. The app looks like a standard calculator — in fact, it is a standard calculator, but it’s designed to keep photos and certain messages hidden and locked in a password-protected photo album.
As a result of the uncovered Colorado sexting scandal, three phones have been confiscated and authorities are requesting search warrents to examine them. An “unspecified number” of Canon City High School students have been suspended over the explicit photos, and it appears some students could face child pornography charges that would cause them to register as sex offenders.
These secret apps are the latest way kids are trying to hide their cyber lives from their parents, and as can be seen here, sometimes the stuff they are hiding can harm them.
So how do these secret vault apps work?
When you first open the vault app, it looks like a normal calculator. But when you enter the password that your child created and tap the percent key, the app opens a secret photo album; there you would see hidden pictures or photo messages that your child didn’t want you to see.
Such apps are becoming incredibly popular and widely used both in business and, apprently, also by children. This scandal is so worrisome that parents are being urged to check their kids’ phones. According to a local news report, a district attorney sent out a warning to parents: “If one child knows about it, many children know about it. So take a minute, grab that phone.” And, experts say, one way to keep your children from using these types of apps is by restricting their ability to install anything without your approval.
It is in these moments of worry that serve as a great reminder to parents that there are iOS parental controls available to help when your children use mobile devices.
Intego’s Family Protector, for example, provides parents with immediate notifications and alerts when your child wants to access a specific website or notifying you if your child downloaded a new app. Furthermore, Family Protector enables parents to schedule and regulate screen time, manage where your children go online, and block expensive in-app purchases and use of the camera, all without having to be a technology expert.
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