In Canon City, Colorado, one of the biggest sexting scandals of all-time breaks out. Scores of high school students are in trouble for carrying nude photos of underage peers on their smartphone. Many face felony counts, child pornography charges and years of prison. How did they do it?
They do it through the ghost apps. These apps look like normal apps but hide a secret photo vault. It turns out a calculator ghost app was used during the Canon City High sexting scandal. On the surface, it looked like a calculator app. But if you type in a password through the calculator, it will take you to a secret room where you can hide pictures and other personal belongings. But these kids used it to take and receive nude and explicit pictures. One can simply search Google ‘vault apps’ and you’ll get an assortment of choices of ghost apps, including this calculator. These ghost apps first sold in 2012, and are extremely popular. The Private Photo Vault is the 28th most popular app in Apple’s App Store. The calculator ghost app called Secret Calculator Folder Free has over 800 reviews. And the Canon City High scandal is hardly unique. Unfortunately, sexting is a disturbing trend for many Gen Zers today.
So what do we do? I urge parents to stay on top of their kids’ smartphone activity. Check it often. Check their social media pages often. Talk to them about the dangers and long term consequences of sexting. It’s not a game, and what you do online can effect you for life. They’re a lot of teens in Canon City that will find that out the hard way. But it’s not just teenagers that could fall prey to this. There’re plenty of adults who would use ghost apps for sinister and perverted purposes. And there’re plenty of adults who would be victimized by adult culprits who use ghost apps for such underhanded purposes. The technology isn’t the problem. The person behind the technology is the problem. So what do we do?