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What the Tech? Be a smartphone spy

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Have you ever walked up behind your kid as they’re using their smartphone and they quickly put it away so you can’t see?

Hmmmm. What are they doing? Do I really want to know?

There are countless dangers kids of all ages face when they’re using anonymous apps. If that’s got you worried, you probably want to check. Here’s how to find out or at least get a good idea of what kids are doing on their phones without them knowing you’re looking:

1. Look at the app screen on the phone. Sure, this is more difficult than it sounds if your child has a passcode lock on it. If you do get to check out the screens, look for any apps you don’t recognize. If you don’t know what they are you can open the app or look it up in Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store.

2. Look for some apps that may not be what they seem. There are dozens of popular hidden locker apps where they can hide text messages, photographs, emails and most any other image. These apps are disguised as calculator apps. To open the locker within the app someone needs to enter a secret equation. But be aware, these apps also have a feature where if another ‘secret equation’ is entered it will open a locker that appears empty. So a kid may open that locker to show their parents there isn’t anything in there.

3. If your child is on the same Apple ID as you, this is the simplest way: go to the app store and select “updates”. Then tap the icon that says “purchased”. It will show every app that’s been downloaded on the account. If you don’t recognize one, another tap opens it up in the App Store with a full description.

4. There are also software programs that take detective work to the next level. Mspy is for phones and computers and motors almost anything on the smartphone. The program tracks the phone over GPS, opens up a list of contacts, calls, text messages and browser history. MSpy is an app that has to be downloaded to the phone you want to track and give it permissions on the phone you want to monitor. If you’re using an iPhone you’ll need access to the iCloud account. It’s around $17/month.

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