'Ghost app' used by students in sexting investigation

KUSA – The Cañon City sexting incident that caused a cancellation of a football game is still being investigated.

Cañon City High School offices said students involved used what is considered a "ghost" or "hidden" app to disguise their files.

One apps look like a calculator, for instance, but if a passcode is typed in, it opens up to a hidden menu with content.

Mike Harris investigates internet child sex crimes for the 1st Judicial District that includes Jefferson County. He showed the 9NEWS crew a free app.

"Ghost apps, hidden apps they're everywhere and the kids know about them," Harris said.

"We've been hearing about these for probably five plus years now. The problem is parents are giving their kids smart phones, iPads, and if their kids don't know about ghost apps, or hidden apps, their friends do and they can tell them how to go about putting them on. And then we as parents, even if we try to be vigilant, check our kids' technology devices, we're not going to see them there."

Harris said he's heard the "not my kid" line from parents too many times.

"This one father in particular, he wept so hard, thought he was a failure because he just could not believe his 12-year-old daughter would be sending out inappropriate naked pictures of herself. I told him, 'you're not a failure, our environment is failing our children, not just from us as parents, but our environment as a whole.'"

Harris teaches parents many things, including sexting and how to be smarter than your kid, or at least just as smart.

"We suggest that parents put on parental controls," Harris said. "If your kids needs an app, or wants an app, you find out what does that app do, why do you want this?"

If you agree with it, then you put in the parent passcode. The kid doesn't know it and then you allow them to download that app. You take back more of the control instead of just giving them these devices."

The 1st Judicial District DA's Office provided a how to manual for parents, with instructions how to see or remove apps from kids' phones. View the manual here or below.

"If you don't know and you want to start over, just hit reset on their technology device and start all over," Harris said.

More information on internet and cell phone safety: http://bit.ly/1iIzdFo.

Protect Your Kids Online


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(© 2015 KUSA)


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