A new app is gaining popularity among teens and is giving them another way to hide pictures, videos and even messages from their parents. They're called decoy apps and just like the name suggests, they can be very deceiving.
Newschannel 6 reached out to Shirley Shell who is the mother of five boys, three of them in school within Burkburnett Independent School District. Shell is constantly monitoring her boys' electronic devices whether it be cell phones or Ipads, which are provided by B.I.S.D.
“For cell phones, it's more about who he's texting, what they're texting about and if there's anything, like bullying or sexual activity or any of that kind of stuff. I put a stop to it. There is no reason for any of that stuff,” said Shell.
“For Ipads, it's just to see what they're doing on the internet because it's off the Wi-Fi and everything,” said Shell.
Monitoring these devices daily, Shell hasn't found any decoy apps.
“I have heard of them, but not that word. I don't like those,” said Shell.
One of her sons, Christopher has never heard of decoy apps until we told him about them.
“No, not that I know of,” said Christopher Shell.
There are many decoy apps on the app store. One that we found looks like a calculator; and after you put in a pass code, you can take pictures, videos, hide contacts, even send and receive messages so that no one knows how to see them but you.
“If you have something to hide or you're ashamed of something and trying to hide it, then you're going to use an app like this. We see this a lot with teenagers using these apps. You might want to check their phone for an app that may hide inappropriate pictures that you don't want your child to send,” said Steve Haviland of Think of I.T.
Haviland says that there are ways that parents can check to see if these apps are on their child's phone. One of those ways is mobile device management.
“This is usually a monthly fee service that will allow the parents to look at every new app that is installed on the phone. It also provides the ability to remote wipe phones in case they're lost or stolen and to locate phones; a digital tracker if you will,” said Haviland.
Haviland also suggests that parent should have an open line of communication with their kids.
“Having that open line of communication may sound counter intuitive, but just sit down with your child, ask them, hey how are things going, what's going on with your friends. Know your child and know what they're involved with and that will help you to head this off,” said Haviland.
Because of Shirley Shell's communication with her kids, she hopes decoy apps are not on her kids' phones.
“If my kids have it on there, then they're hiding it really good, considering I look at their stuff. There is no reason for kids to hide anything on their phone or on their Ipad from their parents. That means that they're hiding it from whomever, so there's no reason for those things,” said Shirley Shell.
Burkburnett I.S.D. officials told Newschannel 6 that they are able to monitor the Ipads they give their students by using the software, Air Watch.
Find out other ways to monitor your child's electronic device by clicking