Wow. I had no idea there was a calculator application that hides private browsing and photos. The home page of the app is a workable calculator but if you click on %, it opens up all that is behind it.

It’s the perfect way to hide what you are really doing.  

This is just one of 15 apps the Sarasota (Florida) Sheriff’s office is warning parents they should keep away from their children. Hats off to my friend Donna Rice Hughes at Enough Is Enough for giving their research wider exposure.

Others are much more obvious in their evil intent. MeetMe is obviously something you do not want on your child’s hand-held device. MeetMe is just as it sounds, an app for face-to-face meetings with people who live near you. No person, certainly no little person, should have this app.

Grindr is really a “meat” market. Used by men who want trysts with other men, like right now (“Port Authority second-floor men’s room, now”), this app uses GPS technology for locations and includes photos and sexual peculiarities.

I am not sure why Tindr is not on the list. It’s a degrading hook-up app for heterosexual trysts. Skout is another “dating” app every child should stay away from.

Others have better reputations, but can be used for bad conduct. You’ve heard of WhatsApp? You may even use it yourself for encrypted conversations with business associates or even family members. Its potential abuse by predators is clear.

SnapChat is all the rage. It allows users to send short burst messages including pictures that are supposed to disappear in minutes. But some have figured out how to save photos for up to 24 hours, copy them, and use them as they wish. It is also an obvious way for kids to have conversations with “friends” that parents may never see. The temptation to secrecy is huge.

Tiktok is a rather fun app that allows users to make funny videos of themselves singing and dancing or whatever. As parents scroll through the offerings, they are quite funny. But there is opportunity for danger.

There are others, mostly meet up sites: Badoo, Kik, Bumble, all cool and kicky names that attract kids, but attract them to what?

Why take the risk? Children do not need smartphones. Teens will survive without them.

The market for dumb phones is growing. There’s lots of cool new screen-free phones, and some keep a charge for a week!

I’m one parent that will be shopping this genre soon.