Read and then we'll talk:
Oh yes a high school sexting ring!!! How salacious does that sound? OK so we have 100+ middle and high school students soliciting and sharing between 300-400 nude photo's of each other, sending them off into the netherland of teen social media, and then hiding these photos that they have either received or taken of themselves in apps called "vaults" away from spying parent's eyes. It seems that there was a contest afoot in this school. Students in the school were assigned points for "hotness."Getting the "hottest" kids to take a nude photo and share garnered the highest points. Kids were propositioning each other left and right and pressuring each other to take and send a nude photo. On some level there must have been some status involved about being repeatedly asked for your photo, cause that would mean you're HOT!!! I guess in high school and middle school life doesn't get better than that. And because these kids are thinking with their emotional brain and not their thinking brain, they forget that once these pics get in the hands of teens, they have no idea where and how they're used. But who cares....THEY'RE HOT!!!!! Luckily a student who didn't value hotness and was tired of being pressured to send a nudie, tipped off the police.
The scariest part of this story is that these kids could have continued on doing this for a long time, since much of their activity was being hidden and unmonitored from parents. I did not know about these vaults, but then again I definitely do not have any naked pictures on my phone I need to hide from nosy people. At the bottom of this post are comprehensive lists of these kinds of apps, but I will share the four most popular that teens use.
There are several that make the icon of these secret storage apps something that would not set off a red flag should you check on what apps you're teen has downloaded. One is a calculator icon that says calculator%, and when you tap on it, an honest to goodness calculator comes up. But if you put in a secret password instead of a math problem, your secret stash of photos come up. Another shows up as an icon that says "my utilities." That would not send up any red flags for you either, but when you open it, a secret stash. Best secret folder, gallery lock, photo locker are all apps that do the same thing, but they can be invisible, no icon, and no way of you even knowing they had it.
Secrecy and nude pictures, this is a lethal combination. Unfortunately teens are completely immune and desensitized to thinking that there is anything wrong with sending out nude pictures willie nillie! Unless and until a jealous ex, or ex bestfriend wants to get back at them.. and then those pics will come back to haunt them. Remember that teens think impulsively and are not thinking past the taking and sending part. What can you do? First you should sit down with your teen and talk about this news story, and then you should sit with them and their phone, go through each app, open it and ask them to tell you what it is and how they use it. You should disable their ability to download apps on their phone. Verizon does that through their parental controls, the iphone does it in the phone, and google does it on androids through the google store. Also this website will give you additional options. http://www.bewebsmart.com/parental-controls/comprehensive-list-phones-computers-tablets/
Yes this is a pain in the neck, but this is about the emotional safety of your teen, and that is no small matter. They won't thank you now, probably just the opposite, but they will thank you later!!! Please look at the links below and educate yourself. That is where your power is!