On the surface, new online application Secret appears to have the best of intentions, but parents beware.
Secret is a messaging/social networking application that works on Apple or Android phones, iPods, iPads or android tablets. The app can be identified by its logo depicting an animated fox and a tag line informing us that ‘It’s a curious world’.
It allows users to share messages and communicate with those on their friends list but also extends to friends of friends and, if public settings are in place, users’ messages are posted widely and other strangers’ messages can be read. All in all, Secret is just another communication application. So here we go again…
In reality Secret is simply another variety of what is known as an anonymiser site. The site’s administrators encourage users to “say whatever you want and no-one will ever know it’s you”. The site offers no original promises, connecting you only with your contacts and not everybody in the program or on the internet if you so choose. The app ironically is called “Secret” yet operates in the most public environment known to man, the Internet.
What are the concerns?
I think that most Internet users are smart enough to understand that true anonymity does not exist online. Secret is another example of a program designed to be self-serving for the user. It targets those with limited social skills, low self-esteem and unfortunately many children who will become involved through curiosity, peer group pressure or just wanting to use the latest app.
No matter how well intentioned the company releasing this app professes to be, Secret provides the perfect forum for users who believe their identity is protected to target our children.
Just think about it… the only reason your child’s “friends” will want to establish contact anonymously is if their intentions aren’t pure. And they will probably be communicating something that they are not prepared to share face to face in the physical world.
Far from private
Upon downloading the app to our device, it asks to access our identity, contacts, location, media files (photos/videos), camera, Wi-Fi information and device ID and call information.
This application is nothing new. It creates the type of communication platform which when used irresponsibly has led to vulnerable youth self-harming and even suiciding.
Your child doesn’t need this app
Numerous great programs are already available that allow your child to connect and communicate. This app does not need to feature on their device. Secret will have its day in the sun; it will come and go quickly as what it provides is not productive. Five things to know and remember
1. The app policy has the minimum user age at 13 years.
2. Secret takes only seven seconds to install with the click of a button and is free.
3. If you become aware the program is on your child’s device, uninstall and talk to your child.
4. The risk is less about what your child does with this app, than the damage others can do towards your child.
5. There are no positive reasons for a child of any age to be using this app.
Watch our video about the Secret application and know how to identify and remove it from your child’s mobile device