What Apps Do Teens Use to Hide Their Online Activity from Parents?

KD Law Group |

A happy teen girl using smartphone, hiding under blanket at nigh, social networks concept.

Teens are curious, and they want to explore the environment around them. They especially want to know what is happening online because they live in a digital age where social media and web surfing are second-nature. They can bypass parental controls even when you set them up on their devices.

Unfortunately, their curiosity and need to explore may lead them into trouble. They may engage in or be exposed to online juvenile offenses like child pornography that may jeopardize their life and future. If you’re concerned about your teen’s online activities, you may want to consult a Bloomfield Hills criminal defense lawyer for legal advice.

Why Do Teens Hide Their Online Activities from Their Parents?

With so much content on various online platforms, teens could be exposed to child sexually abusive material, also known as child pornography. Private and public insults and embarrassing photos can circulate quite fast. There is also an increase in online bullying and harassment of minors. 

If your teen is exposed to such situations, they may want to hide the problem from you, mainly because they know the legal implications or they don’t want to upset you. They also may face threats of being exposed online by the perpetrator if they report the activities.

Under Michigan Law, the distribution of child pornography and being in possession of such material is illegal. The Law prohibits the creation, production, copying, or financing of child pornography. 

If your child has been subjected to child pornography, sexting, or is being abused online, child pornography, sexting, and social media abuse lawyer in Bloomfield Hills can guide you on the steps to take. 

Why Should I Care About the Apps My Teen Uses?

Sadly, some apps your teen might be using could expose them to danger and put them at risk of encountering internet predators and various online criminals. That’s why monitoring the people they interact with, their online behavior, and the sites they visit is crucial. Knowing how to uncover their online activities could be the action that saves them from harm.

What Are the Common Ways That Teens Use to Bypass Parental Controls?

Knowing that your child could be at risk when surfing the internet, it would help to know some of the apps they use to bypass parental controls or hide their online activities. Here are a few:


VPNs are tools that redirect traffic through an external server. It enables the user to encrypt their searches to prevent them from being traced. The tools are tough to identify because the router doesn’t reveal a new IP address. Besides, the broadband provider won’t have any access to the content history. Hence there’s no way to see the sites your teen accesses.

Ghost Apps

Ghost apps appear like well-known apps, for example, a camera, but they hide a secret functionality. An example is the “Audio Manager/ Hide It Pro,” which resembles your phone’s audio settings. However, entering a password reveals a stash of files hidden from the phone’s screen.

Another one is Calculator% which looks like a calculator. Behind it has a functionality that allows users to hide videos and photos from sight.


Line is an all-in-one mobile hub for sharing videos and photos. It allows for free texting and video calls too. Users decide how long their messages will remain visible, from as short as two seconds to as long as a week. The user can also charge the app for in-app activities, but only if they have access to a credit card.


Snapchat is an app that allows users to send photos or videos from their phones and choose how long the recipient can see the content before it disappears. The only problem is that the images and videos don’t disappear forever because recipients can take screenshots of the messages, save them, and retrieve them later when the sender least expects it.


While Omegle isn’t an app, it should raise concerns among parents. That’s because it directly connects users to strangers via chat or video. You may have spent years teaching your child not to talk to strangers, but Omegle puts them a click away from doing just the opposite. 

Other similar sites that connect users to strangers through live-streaming functionalities include:

  • MeetMe 
  • Blendr 
  • Monkey 
  • YouNow 
  • FaceFlow 

If your teen has been using any of these apps, you know that they may not be safe and have probably been exposed to social media abuse. You can schedule a consultation with a Bloomfield Hills child pornography, sexting, and social media abuse attorney to determine the legal options for dealing with the situation. 

How Can I Protect My Teen Online?

Knowing how teens hide their online activities from prying eyes puts you in a better position to protect them online and in real life. You can set rules and expectations for how your children should use the internet, which you feel are in their best interests.

You may also want to consider making a technology contract with your child to prohibit them from using these apps and make additional rules that you feel are appropriate for your family. You can only sign up for safe apps that allow you to monitor potential issues like sexting, cyberbullying, threats of violence, suicidal ideation, and more.

An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Helping You Protect Your Child

It’s normal for teens to try to hide their online activities from those who care about them. However, you need to establish that your teen is not using these apps to hide criminal offenses like sexting, bullying, and harassment, whether they’re the victim or perpetrator.

If you have any reason to believe that your child is not safe online, don’t be quiet about it. A Bloomfield Hills criminal defense lawyer can help you evaluate the situation and unearth what could be hidden from you. Our child pornography, sexting, and social media abuse lawyer in Bloomfield Hills can provide legal counsel on what to do. Contact us for a case evaluation.