The Digtial Cloak of Invisibility
Or How to Hide Things From Adults On My Phone
I remember as a teen growing up, I was continually playing a game of hide and seek from parents and teachers. From parents, I would hide love notes from girlfriends and issues of Playboy that were given to me by my best friend, who got them from his dad’s collection; from teachers, crib notes and yes, even at times, cheat notes.
Given that the items I was attempting to conceal were often pieces of papers or magazines, I would hide them in books, under my bed, in a ceiling tile, in a floor heating grate, or in a gym bag that I could open and close surreptitiously with my feet under my desk, without the teacher seeing. Ahhhhh the good old days.
In today’s digital age, the game of hide and seek from adults is alive and well. Instead of books, ceiling tiles and heating grates, our kids are hiding the same items via their phones and other digital mobile devices by way of Decoy Apps and Vaults.
In every App store, all providers are offering free Decoy Apps and Vaults that either covertly hide a picture or documents behind an app (decoy App) or stored within an overt password vault. Here’s a picture of several that are available on the market today:
Most Decoy Apps come in the form of a calculator. Once you press the decoy App, a functioning calculator will appear. If you press 4 x 5 it will spit out 20. If you press 4 x 8 it will spit out 32. If however, you press a self created code such as #*2438*, then a second file will open within the App that you can now paste pictures (such as nudes) or cheat notes, and then hide them behind the App.
A Vault App, usually looks like a bank vault or lock box with a key. Once you press a Vault App however, it will immediately want you to enter a pass code/word to gain access. Again vaults are also a very common way that students will store nudes (or other pictures) or text/messages that they do not want anyone else to see.
Here’s a great YouTube video on these Apps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IP9L7cyYGg
Another Social Media Safety organization in the USA called “Safe, Smart and Social” created this little cheat sheet to help parents to identify if their child is using a decoy app or vault on their child’s Apple product:
Not only can teens hide pictures and documents using specific Apps, but they can also utilize the specific operating software of a phone to accomplish the same goal. There are two primary ways that students are doing this. The first method is very well described in a video by “Safe, Smart and Social”
The second way that teens are hiding pictures and documents is via their notes which is native to most of their phones
When you click on their notes App you will see the following screen:
When you click the “Notes on my iphone” it will take you to this screen. Where it will say “Saved Photo Locked”
When you click on this link, you will be prompted with the following message:
What this screen tells you is that something is being hidden behind a password or security code.
Yes the game of hide and seek has been in play since we adults became the parents of a tween or teen. The difference today however, many of these Apps and phones offer a cloak of anonymity to our kids greater that ever before. Knowledge and the understanding and application of that knowledge is power, and parents, teachers and even law enforcement should be aware of these App’s and the ios techniques that our kids are using to hide things from us adults