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What's app

Discussion in 'Android Help' started by billozz, Aug 1, 2019.

  1. billozz

    billozz Lurker
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    Hi all I'm new to the forum and hope someone can help with quite a serious problem iv have. I'm pretty sure my grandson is being bullied via social media WhatsApp in particular, we've done all the usual things such as taking to him about it and contacting the school, they have been very good about it but we feel we need to try and do more, so what I want to know is, is there anyway that we can look at his WhatsApp messages without him knowing, just to find out what's going on, he is very protective of his phone so it's tricky to get it, in know this sounds a bit underhand but obviously we want to help him as much as possible, I've come across some programs that claim to give you access to phones, one of which was called ' spyzie' BUT I know nothing about these programs and wonder are they a scam? Do they work? I'm sorry for such long 1st post but I'm sure you can see I am a bit desperate.
    Tia
    Bill
     

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  2. svim

    svim Android Expert
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    How old is your grandson?
    If he's still a pre-teen this could be more justifiable as you just want to take steps to be protective of a youngster, but if he's in high school this could cross the line between wanting to help him in any way you can or just violating his trust in adults. Installing any kind of spyware app is big invasion of his privacy.
    You mentioned talking with your grandson, but have talked with the parents about this? Do they agree with you on something like putting spyware on his phone?

    For the most part just playing devil's advocate on this, from what might be his point of view, so please don't take any of this as being snarky or dismissive. There's no question bullying in schools is a really horrific and too pervasive a problem.


    Regarding spyware apps, there are some very effective ones, Almost all the reputable ones do involve a fee so avoid the free ones. As for Spyzie, looking up reviews for it typically show:
    https://www.thetoolreport.com/spyzie-review/
     
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  3. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion counts.
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    Unless he's told that it's being installed, and why.

    As @svim noted, the child's age plays a big part in this. If he's 6, that's a whole different story than if he's 16. But, either way, he's still a minor, and his parents' responsibility. It's their duty to protect him.

    My oldest grandchild, 11, just got his own phone a few months ago. Instead of covertly spying on him, his parents made clear from the get-go what he was/wasn't allowed to do and that he has to hand over the phone whenever asked--so they can see what he's doing. They set parental controls, reminded him of online dangers, and physically remove the phone at night. It's not 100% foolproof, but I don't know that any method is.
     
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  4. billozz

    billozz Lurker
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    Thanks for the replies, he is 14 and yes his parents are agreeable to trying anything to protect him, they do not want him to become one of the bullying suicides we hear so much about these days. It problem is he is very protective of his phone so it's difficult to gain access to it for very long and add far as I can see you need to install something on the phone? The product descriptions so mention 'jailbreak' and rooting' and none of us are sure what this means, we don't mind paying for the service but just need something that will work
    Thanks again
    Bill
     
  5. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
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    "Jailbreak" is iPhone jargon for the equivalent of what's called "rooting" for android. This is modifying the system software in order to allow user-installed apps to run with administrator privileges (the Linux admin account is called "root", which is where the name comes from).

    Frankly that's probably a non-starter. Whether it's possible at all will depend on what phone it is. If it is possible you'll need physical access to the phone for some time, the process will probably factory reset the phone, will probably prevent him from installing any future software updates, and will probably stop some apps working (some, such as banking apps, won't be a problem for a 14 year old, but some popular games also check this - there are techniques you can use with some rooting methods to get round this, but that's another layer of stuff to learn). So I doubt you can do this without him realising that something has been done, even if you can get the phone off him for long enough to do it.

    One thing that WhatsApp don't make very obvious is that you can block contacts. In the WhatsApp app you go into Settings > Account > Privacy > Blocked Contacts, from where you can choose contacts to block. So maybe someone could have a talk to the kid and explain to him that if anyone sends him a message that he's not happy with he can just shut them up?
     
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  6. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion counts.
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    But, at 14, his parents have every legal and moral right to demand seeing it whenever they want--even if he paid for it.
    You don't need physical access to the phone in order to install most apps. You can log in to the Play Store using the Google account associated with that device, via browser on a computer or from another device. Then find the app(s) you want to install; you should see his device listed; choose it and press 'install.' You'll see a message that the app will install on the device momentarily. Nothing hugely obvious will happen on the phone while this is happening.

    But then you still have to configure the app, which may or may not require physical access.

    I highly recommend that you and the parents read this article about kids and e-devices. It makes some very compelling points.
     
  7. svim

    svim Android Expert
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    OK, so he's old enough that this becomes a more involved issue as far as wanting to help him and violating his rights to privacy. Yes he's still a minor but he's also old enough that when he finds out you've been secretly monitoring his online social presence that's going to introduce a lot of trust issues with adults. If he's already in a dark place because of this bullying issue, this could send him deeper into it when he loses all trust in everyone around him.

    I tend to think installing a spyware app is not the best way to approach this matter. Even if you buy a good, reputable spyware app it will involve a non-trivial process of a) installing it properly without messing up his phone and b) configuring it properly so it does what you want it to in a stealth mode. So this will involve getting physical access of his phone for some time, adding in the spyware, and secretly returning it to him. Each of those three basic steps will probably be major event themselves, never mind the sequence of all three of them together. Add in any number of minor details like do any of you know his password to log into his phone?. Being able to log into a phone without their login info (or face or fingerprint) is an issue itself.

    Anyway, an online Android help forum might not be the best source of information about this. A much more likely place would be a local forum made up of other parents going through the same thing, or at least a phone tree where you can discuss things with other parents to get their opinions on things like spyware apps. You previously mentioned his school was taking at least some active measures, does the school counselor have any references on this?
    Do you reside in the U.S.? Here school bullying is a big problem but there are no federal laws that directly pertain to it, neither criminally nor as a mental health issue. If you haven't already, try perusing through this gov site, there's a lot of relevant links on the bullying topic and for info on local, municipal sources.
    https://www.stopbullying.gov/
     
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  8. billozz

    billozz Lurker
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    Thanks for all the answers, I am h going to do this, I've thought long and hard and taken your views into account but at the end of the day his safety comes first, I will take his wrath if he finds out what I've done. I think I'll have to do it on stages though root the phone at some point then install the software at a later date. I would appreciate if someone could talk me through rooting the phone as I have no idea.
    Thanks
    Bill
     
  9. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
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    It depends on what phone he has, possibly what carrier it was bought from, in some cases on what software version it is running. There are general approaches but no single method that works universally. And there are some phones for which there is no working method. So you'll need to give more information before anyone can attempt to answer that.
     
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  10. svim

    svim Android Expert
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    Given that you're not familiar with smartphone servicing, it's not a very good plan to teach yourself how to root his phone, it's not a trivial project for the uninitiated to safely root a phone for the first time. If you inadvertently wipe all his data or brick it so it's not even usable any longer, that will just worsen a bad situation for him.
    Another issue that still remains to be determined, is this phone indeed an Android phone or an iPhone? Which model and which version of operating system?
     
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  11. billozz

    billozz Lurker
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    On reflection I have decided against a spying app but would still like to see what is being said in what's app, I know that he deletes so chats post nights but I've heard that they are stored in the sd card is it possible to have a look at deleted chats? If so could someone take me through the procedure please, I am very concerned for him at the moment
    Thanks to everyone
     
  12. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
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    WhatsApp keeps local encrypted backups on the phone (in a folder WhatsApp/Databases, probably in internal storage rather than removable sd). But you'll only be able to read them by restoring the backup, which I would expect to overwrite the current chats. And as the filename suggests they are encrypted I suspect you would have to restore them on the same device or account (it would be rubbish security if you could copy an encrypted backup and restore it on a phone not linked to the account, though WhatsApp are owned by Facebook so rubbish security isn't impossible ;)). In other words, the chance of being detected would be high.

    Also these backups are made at 02:00 each day. Stuff deleted before then won't be in the backup.
     
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  13. billozz

    billozz Lurker
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    Would you be able to restore just one chat? If he's deleted it maybe I can restore it and then delete it again?
     
  14. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
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    I've not tried it, but message backups in my experience are generally all or nothing. Of course you could find out empirically: create a WhatsApp account on your phone, have a couple of people send you messages, then the next day try to restore the backup and see whether it gives you the choice of which chats to restore. You'd want to be familiar with the process before trying it for real anyway.

    As noted the chat would only be in the backup if it was ongoing at 2am: anything happening after that would miss the backup (and presumably be deleted before the next one), and if the chat were deleted before that then there would be no backup of it at all.
     
  15. svim

    svim Android Expert
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    Defeating any kind of encryption scheme is going to be difficult and involved so attempting to read his old messages without his consent, deleted or not, won't be a simple task. Don't forget you're going to have to break through whatever lock screen he has set up on his phone to even get access to his WhatsApp app, plus since we still don't know if this is an Android or iPhone nor which version of operating system its running, after a set number of failed attempts this could just temporarily lock you out completely or if intentionally set wipe his phone as a security measure.
     
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  16. billozz

    billozz Lurker
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    Sorry I should have said it's a one plus 5t phone . Thanks for all your help with this
     
  17. MoodyBlues

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    From one grandparent to another, may I offer some [more] advice? Oh, I also know a thing or two about programming and how devices work.

    You're coming through loud and clear that there's something(s) your grandson is doing/thinking/planning/whatever, that's really troubling you. For reasons others have explained, hacking in to his WhatsApp will be difficult, if not impossible.

    In your attempts to do it, you're very likely to screw things up, ultimately revealing your actions to your grandson. Think of the issues that would cause.

    Wouldn't it just be better for you or his parents to talk to him? And, really, his parents should've instituted rules like my grandson's when he got the phone. It sounds like he could be having some very serious problems. They need to be addressed, not spied on.

    Please feel free to tell me to mind my own business. :)
     
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