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‘Ghost apps’ and the challenges they pose for parents

What a child does on their smartphone can have major ramifications that could stick with a child for a very long time. It could impact a child’s school-life, and even have impacts on things such as their future education and employment prospects. Some types of conduct could even put a child into criminal proceedings. For example, here in Wisconsin, being accused of sexting could expose a child to criminal charges.

So, it’s not surprising that many parents want to keep a close eye on their child’s smartphone conduct. There are certain things though that can pose challenges in parents’ efforts to monitor whether their child is sticking to responsible behavior on the phone.

One is the rise of ghost apps. Use of such apps might be quite common among teens, according to some of the statistics out there.

What is a “ghost app”? It is an app aimed at allowing a phone user to conceal their phone activity. On a phone’s icon screen, it may show up as something fairly innocuous, like a calculator. However, in actuality, it is a password/code-protected system that allows for messaging or other activity outside of the phone’s regular, more visible, systems. So, kids could use such programs to try to hide their phone activity from their parents.

What can parents do to try to address the problems ghost apps raise when it comes to keeping their kids away from problematic smartphone conduct? Steps parents can take include:

  • Talking to their child about the importance of responsible smartphone use and the dangers of certain phone-related conduct. In a previous post, we discussed some of the things parents can do regarding talking to their kids about sexting.
  • Keeping an eye out for anything unusual on their child’s phone, such as an app icon that seems out of place.
  • Monitoring and/or putting controls on what phone apps their child downloads.

As this illustrates, today’s technology can raise all kinds of special issues and questions for parents regarding how best to protect their kids. Among the situations in which parents can be very concerned about how best to protect their child’s interests is when their child is facing criminal allegations in relation to phone/online activity. Parents in such a situation can go to skilled juvenile crime defense attorneys with their questions on what can be done to try to safeguard their child’s future.

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