MADISON (WKOW) -- Many kids and teens have smartphones these days, but they could be hiding concerning content.
Secret apps that can hide photos and other content are gaining popularity. "It appears to look like a simple photo app or something really innocuous and innocent," says Steve Noll, a marketing professor at Madison College. "They really are something else... They can have a password, that if they enter will allow them to go into a secret folder, and they can put private pictures in there."
Teens say these are nothing new. "I've heard of them for the past couple of years now," says teen, Daylon Reifsteck. He uses one. "[You can keep] photos of like going out and stuff that you don't want your parents to see or like your girlfriend. I mean, not like bad stuff."
"Right now, the apps themselves are not illegal," says Noll.
Users can still be held accountable for what they post on these secret apps though. The Madison Police cyber safety team is well aware these apps exist and are looking for them when a search warrant is executed on a phone. "You absolutely could be looking at fines from disorderly conduct to threats... All the way up to felonies." says Officer Chanda Dolsen.
Earlier this month a sexting scandal stemmed from these secret apps at a Colorado high school. More than 100 students were involved.
Officer Dolsen, a parent herself, says fellow parents should be asking questions and keep communication open with their kids. "If you're not having the conversation, they may think that they shouldn't be doing it. And then they're going to hide things I think. They're probably going to hide things anyway, but I think it'll minimize [it]."
Lucky for our teen Daylon, he and his seemingly harmless photos have been able to fly under the radar. "I actually haven't heard of anyone getting caught," he says. Until maybe now.
There are programs and apps for parents, where they can monitor their kids' behavior on the phone and online. Click on our WEB EXTRA for more information.