Parenting in the digital age is a daunting challenge. 90% of children aged 8 through 16 have seen pornography. Over half of kids and teens report having experienced cyberbullying, and 32% have engaged in sexting. What’s more, 70% of teens admit to hiding online content from their parents.
The widespread availability of smartphones and tablets is one reason behind these staggering statistics. These devices open up world of possibilities for accessing online content and communicating with others via apps. While technical safeguards such as Curbi and Intego’s Family Protector can help parents maintain visibility and control over the apps their kids are downloading, truly effective family internet safety plans still require parents to maintain a high level of awareness of what the apps their kids want can do.
Of course, for busy parents, staying on top of the latest trending apps is incredibly difficult. To make that job a little easier, here’s an overview of Calculator+, a potentially dangerous app that parents should be on the lookout for.
Calculator+: A Hiding Place for Photos and Videos
Calculator+ sounds like an app you’d want your child to have, right? All of a sudden, math homework just got a lot easier . . . and it’s free.
Not so fast. The problem with Calculator+ is that its name and appearance are deliberately deceptive. This is an app designed to hide private photos and videos behind an unassuming calculator.
How it Works
Calculator+ is tricky on two levels. First, it’s designed to look like the native calculator in iOS. Second, Calculator% is actually a functioning calculator. You can type in numbers and do normal operations on it, just like you can on the native calculator app. However, if you type in a passcode in the calculator interface and then press the percent (%) button, the app unlocks to reveal a secret vault for photo and video files.
Why It May Be Dangerous for Kids and Teens
Again, the purpose of this app is to deceive onlookers, giving users a place to store photos and videos they do not want others to see. While a young person’s desire for privacy may be understandable, many parents do not like the idea of their children being able to hide content from them. Indeed, Calculator+ lends itself to being used for risky activities, such as sexting or viewing pornography.
What You Can Do About It
The first step, of course, is being aware that apps like Calculator+ exist. In fact, Calculator+’s model is a popular one that other developers have used. Other secret storage vault apps using the calculator interface include Secret Calculator and Secret Photo & Video Calculator, which are available in the iOS App Store, and Smart Hide Calculator, which is available in the Google Play store for Android users.
The second step is to make sure you are monitoring your child’s app purchases. Parental controls in both iOS and Android allow parents to view the apps that their kids have downloaded. With iOS, parents can even set up notifications that allow them to approve or deny any app downloads. And now that you know about Calculator+ and similar apps, you’re armed with the awareness you need to decline permission for these deceptive apps.