How kids are hiding their text messages from you - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

How kids are hiding their text messages from you

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

We have talked to you before about setting ground rules for the teens in your life that have cell phones.  Rules such as "Digital is Forever", "Don't talk to strangers", and  "Would your Grandmom be okay with that?"

Many of you also like to check your kids' cell phones or have worked with the cell phone companies to install monitoring plans.  

Like with so many other things, it looks like kids have found a way around that.   

There are several new apps on the market that allow you to hide texts and even phone calls.  Some are free or low cost and scary easy to use.  Some of the app names will give it away but others might not be so obvious. 

WBTV's cyber expert, Theresa Payton, explains what these apps do and what you can do about it at home: 

According to a Pew Internet study:

Almost 1 in 5 teens have used their cell phone to send sexually-suggestive images of themselves

Older teens are much more likely to send and receive "sexts"

3 KEY RULES FOR PARENTS:

1.  NO DIGITAL ZONE:  Have your teens turn in their devices before they head to bed.  They are more likely to get wrapped up in a texting session if they are alone in their room.

2.  CELL PHONE REVIEW:  Occasionally have your kids show you their phone and ask them to log into the apps that you aren't sure what they are. 

3.  TALK, TALK, TALK:  The number one best rule to have is to talk to your kids!  Remind them that digital is forever and that they should not text inappropriate messages or photos - under any circumstances.

RESOURCES:

Pew Research Center Study

There are too many of these apps that hide texts or calls to list them all here.  A short list that you may want to look for on your kids' phones are:

Blacklist

HMT (hide my text) Invisibility

420 Hide Text/Call Log

TextPlus

TextFree Unlimited

WORD OF THE WEEK:

BIOSwimmer:  This is a new security project underway to help the U.S. better protect its underwater vulnerabilities.  Using a technique called biomimetics, it will look somewhat like a tuna and the robot will be able to swim and maneuver like a tuna while using it's own computer for navigation.  It will use the digital world to communicate back a security report back to its home base reporting any suspicious activities.

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