As a parent, it can be difficult to keep tabs on everything your kids are doing on their phones. There are many apps with hidden chat feature that allow private messaging, which can be concerning if your child is using them without your knowledge. In this article, we will overview 5 popular apps that have these hidden chat capabilities and why they may pose a risk for your kids.
What Is Hidden Chat Messenger App? And Why May It Be a Danger to Your Child?
Hidden or private chat apps are messaging apps that allow users to text back and forth while keeping the contents of the conversation private. Many of these apps do not show up on the main device screen and need to be accessed through special menus or folders. Your child may hide chat app, so you won’t even have a chance to access it.
The danger with hidden chat apps is that predators may use them to communicate with minors secretly. The private nature of these apps also allows kids to hide bullying more easily, discuss inappropriate topics, or engage with strangers. As a parent, it’s important to be aware of which apps have these capabilities to protect your child.
According to statistics, fifteen percent of adolescents aged twelve to eighteen who reported experiencing bullying at school this academic year did it via text or the Internet. It is projected that in the 12 months preceding the study, 14.9% of high school students experienced cyberbullying.
UNESCO even claims that one-third of the globe’s youth are bullied. Therefore, as a parent, you need to know how to find hidden messaging apps, where the dangers can be hidden, and what to do to prevent them.
Smiley Private Text
Smiley Private Text markets itself as a “hidden messenger app” that allows users to send encrypted texts that self-destruct after being read. All messages are deleted from the company’s servers after delivery.
While privacy is important, the self-destructing nature of messages on Smiley makes it easy for kids to hide conversations from parents. There is also potential for inappropriate use, such as sexting or messaging with strangers.
CoverMe Private Text and Call
As another private messenger app, CoverMe allows free encrypted texts, voice messages, and calls. The app features self-destructing messages and does not store user data on external servers.
Again, the heavy privacy protection would make it extremely difficult for parents to monitor their kids’ communications on hidden text apps like CoverMe. The encrypted call functionality also poses risks if kids are contacting unknown numbers.
Signal Private Messenger
Signal is an open-source messenger that offers enhanced privacy features through end-to-end encryption. Messages can also self-destruct after a set period of time.
While Signal is considered more reputable than other private chat apps, its disappearing message system still poses monitoring challenges for parents. Features like encrypted group chats also open the door to inappropriate behaviors.
Telegram is another encrypted chat app that lets users access messages from multiple devices. And, yep, unfortunately, it can be used like hidden text app by your child. While Telegram chats are cloud-based and can be backed up, the app also contains a “Secret Chat” feature that enables disappearing messages.
Telegram’s mix of permanent and ephemeral messaging again makes it hard for parents to keep tabs on their kid’s communications within the app. Stranger danger is also a concern due to Telegram’s group chat and channel capabilities.
Will you believe me if I say that even Viber can be a danger, being hidden message app? Yep, that’s true! Viber is an all-in-one chat app that allows free texts, calls, photos, and video messages. While it does not advertise encryption, Viber contains hidden chat features activated by setting a password. Hidden chats allow auto-delete of messages after a set period of time.
The ability to password protect and hide conversations is a major red flag for parents. Like apps before it, Viber gives kids an easy way to conceal inappropriate chats from their parents while enabling secret communications with potentially dangerous strangers.
Ways to Find Secret Chat Apps on Your Kid’s Device
As a concerned parent, what can you do to uncover if your child is using these secret chat apps? Here are two methods:
Use a Monitoring Parental Control App Like Parentaler
Rather than manually searching through your kid’s phone, having quarrels, and breaking trust, parental control apps provide an easy way to monitor their device usage remotely. Apps like Parentaler allow parents to:
- View all installed apps on a child’s phone
- Check chat app activity, including texts, images, videos, and files
- Set time limits for app usage
- Monitor web browsing history and location
Using a robust parental control app saves time, gives you deeper insights into your kid’s digital behaviors across various channels, and helps detect messaging secret hidden app icons. Features like activity reports and location history help track remote usage with their phone when your child is away from home.
Find Hidden Apps Through App Library
You can also choose to check your child’s phone for hidden apps manually. Due to increased privacy controls, hidden chat apps will not appear on your kid’s home screen.
To surface these apps, you would need to go to the full app library and look for suspicious or unknown apps. This method takes considerably longer and makes checking historical chat data extremely difficult.
Furthermore, tech-savvy kids can now easily find tips online to hide apps better, making manual checks inefficient. For these reasons, a parental monitoring app is highly recommended over manual searches.
Apps with hidden chat feature pose serious risks of enabling inappropriate behaviors and strangers endangering children. As a parent, being aware of the existence of these apps is the first step to better protecting your kids.
We recommend openly communicating with your children about the potential dangers of messaging strangers online. At the same time, leverage parental control apps to gain visibility into your kid’s phone activity history across both known and hidden apps. Working in unison, good communication, and smart technology can help safeguard children in the digital age.