Every parent reading this will have a memory of a point in their childhood when they behaved against their parents’ wishes. Some would argue this low-level disobedience is part and parcel of growing up; the natural desire to test the boundaries and push back against authority. Most parents now look back on their childhood transgressions with a wry smile, rolling their eyes at their past choices, and – for the first time – seeing their parents’ point of view in the matter.
Encouraging healthy skepticism in parents
However, remembering childhood mistakes is beneficial beyond simple reminiscence; it can also help to prepare you for the fact that your own children are liable to go through the same experience. They, too, will eventually be filled with the desire to rebel against your preferences. While all parents want to trust their children, it’s useful to remember your own actions during your teenage years, and how you undoubtedly broke the rules a few times too – because this memory can encourage a healthy level of skepticism that allows you to actively monitor your child’s choices.
Why is this necessary?
Unfortunately, parental skepticism is needed now more than ever. The advent of the technological age has meant that child rule-breaking can now be more catastrophic than it was for earlier generations; breaking technology-based rules could create serious consequences that negatively impact your child for years to come. However, children will still be infused with the desire to break the rules – an issue that can cause no end of worry for parents, especially if your children are more tech-savvy than you are personally.
There is one particular area where parental skepticism can be hugely beneficial; the risks posed by hidden Android apps. Below, we’re going to explore this subject further and explain how kids can overcome tech obstacles set in place by their parents in order to download rule-breaking apps or content that they know their parents would prefer they did not have.
What are hidden Android apps or content?
The apps that are visible in the app menu screens on a device are not necessarily the only apps that are actually installed on the device. Additionally, hidden content is exactly as it sounds; files and downloads that are intentionally hidden from the view of a casual observer. We will give you some tips on finding hidden apps as you read on, but first, we’ll explain a little more about them.
Why do children hide apps and content?
- To conceal their online activity
- To hide sensitive information, such as explicit images
- To hide apps, such as live-streaming video or dating apps, that children know their parents would not approve of them using
- Hiding apps that they are using incredibly frequently, often for fear that their parents will notice the repetitive usage and ban the app for fear of addiction
How are Android apps hidden?
There are a number of different methods that children can use to hide apps from parental supervision, ranging from activating settings within the Android system to installing third-party apps designed for the express purpose of concealing content.
How can you find hidden apps on an Android device?
You can check the full list of apps downloaded onto an Android device by navigating through the following options:
- Settings > Apps > All
This will show the current list of installed apps, including those that have been hidden from immediate view. Scan through the list and check to see if you are happy with the apps that are installed; you may also need to tap on the application itself to open and then tap “Enable” on the app’s detail screen. If there are any you are unfamiliar with, quickly Google to ascertain if they are suitable for your child. If they’re not, you can uninstall them then and there, and then plan to speak to your child about the matter at a later point.
Additionally, be aware of the names of the most common “privacy” apps. If you scan through your child’s device and see that apps such as App Defender, Privacy Manager, Privacy Master, or AppLock have been installed, be concerned. Ask your child why they have downloaded a privacy app and what they use it for; there may be an innocent explanation, but you definitely need to discuss the subject further.
How can you find hidden content on an Android device?
To search for hidden content, you’ll need to go through the following steps:
- Go to the File Manager
- You can then either browse by category or just select the “All Files” option if you’d prefer to look through everything at once
- Open the menu and go to the settings
- In the settings list, tap “Show hidden files”
- You can now go back to the file list and check through each file individually
How can you prevent your children from downloading and hiding apps and content?
A two-pronged approach is usually preferable:
- Firstly, ask your child not to download apps or content to their device without your approval. It’s helpful to explain why you have put this rule in place, so your children understand that your concern is for their security and well-being.
- Secondly, while the conversation as described above should help to prevent your child from hiding apps and content, think back to your own childhood – as we’ve discussed, you probably did a few things that your parents didn’t want you to do, so there’s every chance that your child will do the same. As a result, occasionally check your child’s device as described above, and use parental controls that allow you to monitor and limit the kind of content they are able to download.
It would be nice to think that children can be trusted to stay within their parents’ rules but, as most parents can remember from their own youth, this often isn’t the case. By discussing hidden apps and content with your children and then double-checking that your rules are being followed, you can be confident that your children’s devices will only contain apps and content that meet your standards. Essentially, you can be open with your child in order to establish a sense of trust, but avoid being too trusting – a perfect balance that preserves your child’s well-being at all times.