Beware of hidden apps on your kids’ smartphone

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SEATTLE -- The latest stats show 60% of teens have either sent or received a sext and there are apps designed to hide the evidence.

Should you snoop through your kids’ phones and other devices? Experts say 'yes.' And 'no.'

It’s a question every parent will ask themselves at some point especially with new apps coming out every day designed to hide things from you.

When kids assume the position – hunched over their phone, eyes glazed over – do you know what has them so engrossed?

“We would be surprised at the amount of underground activity that's going on,” family psychiatrist Dr. Gregory Jantz,. “There's apps these days that are frightening for kids to even have access to.”

Technology and security expert Linda Criddle says these secret apps are gaining popularity.

“A calculator app! They're never going to look behind there so you can put whatever in there!” Criddel explained.

When you open the app it is a calculator, but punch in a password and it will open a treasure trove of hidden pictures and videos that don’t show up anywhere else on your device.

The devious nature of the secret apps brings us to the age-old question: to snoop or not to snoop?

The experts say you should look but your kids should know when it's happening.

“Here's how to do this where it's not so sneaky: Have a family technology agreement. We have one at our house and we re-signed it every year,” Dr. Jantz explained. “We do fun little checkpoint so we don't do it necessarily secretive. We say ‘hey let me see your phone’ to share with me what you've been doing.”

The key is to have an upfront conversation.

“You might not have a lot of concerns about your kids, but it's what's coming into them that you need to be aware of,” Dr. Jatz added.

Both experts agree a home without guidelines can be dangerous. Routine check-ins are critical.

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