What is the technique: Kids hide apps
Jamey Tucker and Dylan Jimenez
28 minutes ago
I heard a mom say the other day that her kids can’t use TikTok because she deleted the app from their phone. Do you know what your kids say? “Aw, Mom, you’re adorable. But good try.” Your kids might hate me for saying this, but deleting an app from their smartphone won’t stop them.
For one thing, they don’t need the app. They simply open the TikTok website, tiktok.com, in a smartphone browser. It’s more complicated than using the app and they have to sign in every time, but you can still sign in and watch videos. In fact, if your child has a smartphone with internet and a browser, they can access Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Reddit, and Twitch from a browser.
After deleting internet history and closing browser pages, they can hide their tracks in incognito mode.
And they realized that even if mom and dad set a time limit on TikTok, Instagram, or another app, the screen time limit doesn’t apply to time spent in incognito or private mode.
They can also disguise apps to appear on their screen as something else. For Android phones, there are dozens of apps for this. On iPhones, shortcuts can be used to replace the app icon and name. There are hundreds of video tutorials on TikTok that show you step-by-step how to do this. This allows anyone to add an icon to any app. So Mom can see the app icon for the play button labeled “images” or whatever, but when she taps it, it will be TikTok, Snapchat, or whatever app she chose to hide.
There are also videos that show kids how to hide apps from the home screen. Most people already know how to do this in iOS 14 and later. On the iphone, you can tap the icon to make it appear shaky. Tap delete to hide it from the home screen. You can also hide entire pages of apps by tapping the three dots at the bottom of the screen and deselecting the page you want to hide.
And if that’s not enough, there are hidden locker apps where they can put any apps, messages, or photos they don’t want you to see when you look at their phone. Locker apps are disguised as calculators or music players. To unlock the locker, you must enter a secret equation that has been set beforehand. But beware, there are secret-secret hidden cabinets that require a different equation. Let’s say a parent discovers the app and demands to see what’s inside. The child can enter the secret equation of the hidden mannequin closet, which reveals only a few things that the parents will not care about. The things they want to hide are in the 2nd closet, which the parents will know nothing about. This is really brilliant.
Parents can monitor their child’s smartphone usage and limit their use at certain times, such as right before bedtime. There are videos of teenagers showing how to change the time zone in the settings so they can use the app or the internet whenever they want.
Honestly, kids are always one step ahead, and that makes it very difficult for even tech-savvy parents to keep them away from certain websites and apps. Some teenagers and others work full-time to figure out how to do these tricks and share them with other kids on TikTok and other social media channels. So talk to them about the dangers and what you expect from them online.
I’ve also played around with parental screen time limits on the iPhone and discovered some things kids can do to get more time on an app they want to use, or even an app their parents have blocked.
That’s a story for tomorrow.