There are any number of very simple ways kids can throw the proverbial cloak of invisibility over their online life. Here are a few of them.
Maybe you’ve seen this tactic on your favourite crime drama. The baddie can’t be traced because he’s used a temporary phone - a cheapie model powered with pre-paid minutes that can be discarded, or burned, at the least sign of trouble.
Well, kids watch crime shows too. And the practice of packing a second phone - a “burner” - while not exactly widespread, is popular among young people with something serious to hide: be it a relationship, dicey images or apps or (in rare cases) criminal activity.
A physical phone is no longer necessary to juggle multiple online lives. Using a burner app, texts and calls appear to come from a “real” phone number that is not the user’s existing number.
There are legitimate reasons for using burner apps as a form of privacy protection.
But in the hands of children, the scope for pranking, stalking and online abuse is massive - and the appeal can prove irresistible.
Some burner apps feature self-destructing messages. Others allow anonymous sign-up and accept Bitcoin, and allow users to disguise the appearance of the app to look like a news reader. Examples: Hushed, Burner, CoverMe, TextMe Up.
GPS spoofing apps
Parents who use a GPS tracker to keep tabs on their children’s whereabouts need to know that a savvy kid using an Android can hack their location in seconds using an app like Mock GPS. Faking your location on an Apple device is a bit harder but can still be accomplished with a bit of persistence and the iTools app.
In a world where the average child swipes their first device at 6 months of age (!) and receives their first smartphone in Year Five, keeping kids safe has never been trickier. Thousands of families around the world use Family Zone’s world-leading parental controls help manage screen-time, block adult content and set study- and sleep-times. Find out which Family Zone plan can help keep your children safe.