This Is How to Know if Your Child Is Using This Secret App

Image via Galit Breen

“HIDE your private photos and videos behind a REAL CALCULATOR!”

That’s the tagline being used to sell your kids on a popular secret app that hides their photos. There are several versions of this trendy app—Calculator%, Calculator +, and Secret Calculator are a few names they go by. Calculator Photo Vault is another, easier-to-connect-the-dots version of the same thing.

The basic idea from the mouths of (app developers to your) babes:

“Secret Calculator is the best way to hide and protect your secret photos, private videos, credentials, contacts, and notes from prying eyes behind a real calculator.

No one can enter except you!

Easily manage and store your private photos, videos, notes, passwords, contacts, and to-dos in one single app.”

The parenting 411

At first glance, apps like this look like a regular calculator. But when you open it up and type in your password, it opens up into a place to store hidden pictures and files that can't be found elsewhere else on your phone.

There are many variations of this secret app, so, especially in the beginning of your kids’ adventures with phones, apps, and social media, it's so important to click into EVERYTHING on your kids' phones. Also, check iTunes and Google Play for these kinds of apps, sometimes called “photo vaults.” 

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Special notice

You should be checking:

  1. Apps—To see if your child has a secret app like this out on her phone, unhidden. She might not even know the potential risks with apps like this or that having an app like this could be viewed as problematic. Click into the app and teach her.
  2. Downloads—If your child knows that an app like this would not be a … welcome addition to your app family, she may download and delete it at will. Go into her phone’s App Store —> Updates —> Purchased — My Purchases. Any app that has the “download” option next to it has been downloaded at one point or another. Have her show and explain to you what she’s downloaded and deleted—and why.

 An Alabama district attorney, Pamela Casey, posted a PSA to parents about this app. It’s super informational and you can find it right here.

My recommendations:

1.    Watch this video WITH your kids.

2.    Yes, really!

3.    Open the discussion with your kids about WHY this concerns you and WHY you’d rather them not have a secret app like this on their phone.

4.    THIS is a great time to lay it all out there.

5.    As in: Now that you’ve discussed it, if you find a secret app like this one their phone, what will the consequence be?

Until you have this discussion, it doesn’t make sense to get mad at your kids if they have downloaded it onto their phones.

Consider this a PSA for them AND a conversation opener between the two of you.

This is super important because you want them to know that they can come talk to you as needed, and you won’t freak out.

The digital world is tricky to maneuver and your goal is for your kids to see you as a soft landing and a partner in this.

To help guide these conversations, I have a free guide for you that covers 9 things you can TODAY to keep your kids safer online. Get it RIGHT HERE

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Galit Breen is the author of Kindness Wins, a simple, no-nonsense guide to teaching your kids how to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online course Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. She believes that you can let your kids be online and still create a grass-beneath-your-bare-feet childhood for them. Get her guide with 9 things you can do TODAY to keep your kids safer online for free RIGHT HERE.

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This Is How to Know if Your Child Is Using This Secret App

Galit Breen is the author of Kindness Wins, a simple no-nonsense guide to teaching our kids how to be kind online. She has a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in human development and was a classroom and reading teacher for ten years. In 2009, she launched a career as a freelance writer entrenched in social media. Since then, her work has been featured in various online magazines including Brain, Child, The Huffington Post, TIME, and xoJane. Breen lives in Minnesota with her h ... More

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