By Joshua Morgan
As more kids have access to devices like smartphones and tablets, a new danger has arisen.
They’re called ghost apps, or photo sharing apps, and it’s an easy way for kids to share photos and hide their activity from parents.
They may look like your normal app, say a calculator app or a Lynx spray app, but when a password is entered anybody can hide and share photos and videos.
Cormac Fitzgerald, 22, is a freelance app developer from South Perth who believes ghost apps are harmful to the community.
“Ghost apps are dangerous because people use them and do not understand what privacy they are destroying and what information they are allowing to be taken,” he said.
“A picture really does tell a thousand words, and when kids are sending these inappropriate photos, that they are sure to regret, it’s a concern for the parents as well as the people in the photos,” he added.
Kellie Britnell, from Sydney, is the Senior Education Advisor for the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner, and she notes that the problem of ghost apps is built around communication.
“If parents aren’t communicating with their kids about what they’re doing online, it doesn’t give them much opportunity to know about what they’re doing and the possibilities of their children trying to hide material from them,” she said.
Kellie Britnell believes that education is the best way to tackle the problem of ghost apps.
“Education is the best prevention. The more parents are informed about what young people are doing, the better. Ghost apps are not a new thing, but a lot of people just aren’t aware of them.”
Experts worry ghost apps are damaging children’s safety and negatively impacting the app community.
“It’s all a really big mess. Apps are supposed to be fun, and informative,” Cormac added.
“These ghost apps are ruining the app community. It should be a safe place, not a secret one.”