Advertised as a "Funny Anonymous School News for Confessions and Compliments", it is not all it has cracked up to be. Many students in our school have this app downloaded, including 5th graders.
After School is a new app available on smartphones that allows teens to share their thoughts anonymously - crushes, anxieties, and gossip. If you can imagine, these anonymous comments have turned into bullying and threats. It allows for students to share their thoughts on message boards that are associated with their high school, but it does not share their identity.
This app only allows teens to be on it. How? By verifying their account through Facebook. If parents want to be on it, they would have to lie to say they are a student. But of course, the app has a way of finding those who are posing as students and will block them. Red flag right there that this app is not great. If it blocks adults from seeing it, trouble is going to ensue.
Talking about Apps
How can we, as parents, keep them safe and help them make good choices? A few suggestions I gathered from Crosswalk.com may be helpful. I love that they said, "Your child's safety is more important than their privacy". So true.
If you aren't sure how to start talking with your child, or if you are feeling overwhelmed with it all, please get in touch with our school counselors. They have heard of the app and know how to either walk you through how to talk to your kids, or they can talk with them about being safe online, too.
After School has added a piece to their Android description to state they are monitoring posts and have 0 tolerance for cyberbullying. Even IF the monitoring works 100% of the time, it is still important to have open conversations with your child about their cybersafety and kindness online.
A teacher turned techie with an obsession with Google, teachers that love learning, and students that love life!