What is the Calculator Vault App? Dangers for Parents
This is a “Vault” app. What is a “Vault” app? A Vault app is an app that stores secret information behind the facade of another application. In this example, a calculator facade is used to store secret photos and videos that can only be accessed through a specialized code. There are many Vault apps that are available in app stores. We review one of the most popular. Watch the video.
This app was highlighted in a video by District Attorney Pamela Casey of Blount County in Alabama on Facebook last September.
We understand that for adults this app is not a problem but in the hands of children and teens it can be a problem. In November 2015, a sexting ring involving over 100 High School students in Canon, Colorado revealed and elaborate operation where children were sharing photos of others and themselves online. Possessing and distributing pornographic images of children is a felony. Laws are now being adjusted to address the sharing of these images by and from other children who are underage. In the case of the High School in Canon, Colorado the children involved may be facing Class 3 felony charges regardless if those involved state it was consensual. The law states that anyone under the age of 18 cannot consent.
- Perhaps the greatest concern for parents is the secretive nature of storing and sharing photos, videos and messages through an app that is deceptive on purpose. The idea that it has a secret password for these images also indicates another step to keep images and videos private.
- There are a lot of imitator apps like this popping up in app stores. Parents can use the terms “Calculator” and “Vault” in app stores to find out what is available on different operating systems.
- These apps are mostly free. There are paid versions that promise more storage and security however this is false. Children need to understand that things shared online can exist there forever.
Safety begins at home
The place to address all online activity with children is at home. Parents should be the first line of awareness regarding online safety. Establishing rules in anticipation of problems that may arise will help parents and children deal with problems when they arise.
Parents should implement the following rules related to devices:
- The ability to review phones or devices that have apps at any time.
- The understanding that parents can delete or take away applications that are inappropriate.
- A Monthly review of online safety practices.
- Appropriate time limits for children using devices.
If you notice this application on your child’s device be sure to talk to them about it. If you have established rules ahead of time it will be easier to make corrections, delete or talk about concerns with your child. Use the skill of Effective Communication and the skill of Preventive Teaching to help your child.
If there is an app that you think could be helpful and beneficial for other families or apps you are concerned about, let us know and we will review it.
Until next time, be safe in cyberspace.