AfterSchool App – Another Online Risk Parents Should Consider
What can be more natural for a modern kid than being a social media savvy? In a digital world, where 73% of teens have access to a smartphone, it is no surprise that your kid might be actively communicating on most social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, which have become incredibly popular. While you can monitor teens’ activities on most of those resources, there are a lot of ‘dark corners’, where you have a little control over what information your kid might send and receive. However, sometimes you can get negative from where you could never be waiting it.
Recently a huge buzz was provoked by an app that was once released for letting school students be open and connect with each other without being judged. We are talking about the AfterSchool app – a cool and exciting tool for sharing teenagers’ thoughts and dreams, for whining about hard days at school or a stubborn teacher – anything, in fact. Developers promise total anonymity, as well as ‘parent protection’ – one can only access the app after proving he is a school kid (by logging in through Facebook).
If you try the AfterSchool homepage, the app seems to be a real haven for nervous school kids that are tormented by judgment and criticism from their peers on Facebook. In AfterSchool instead, they can be themselves, tell about their romantic (or not so much) feelings to someone, and just have fun without any consequences. A whole live ‘wall’ of school kids telling why they use the AfterSchool app would be touching and convincing (not for parents, obviously), if only its coolest feature would not become its primary shortcoming.
You as a parent and a person, who once was a teenager, know how kids at this age can be cruel and inventive in the ways of humiliating others – especially if they are sure, it will never come back to them. It is no wonder that AfterSchool turned into an easy bullying platform where students’ trash talked about others, spread rumors and lies about their peers. There were even couple cases when a picture of a gun would appear in the school’s feed with a note like ‘Something big is going down. Don’t go to school tomorrow’. This is the last thing you would ever want your child to read.
Another dangerous behavior noticed in the AfterSchool app was sexting – sharing sexually explicit messages and nude pictures of underage teens. Most of the time teenagers are forced to take and send such photos. Needless to say, it is illegal and harmful both for children’s psychology and reputation. Add here insecurities that force teens to work off on others, you will get the point why the app is more than dangerous.
For the moment, the controversial AfterSchool app was removed from App Store twice (and who knows how many more are ahead), and replaced with other versions that are promised to be more safe and secure for kids who are using this invention. Developers claim that apps have the leading moderation technologies implemented for ensuring all the posts are safe and fair towards all the users that might be reading them. They are fully convinced that whenever the situation with any of the posts might get wrong or dangerous, schools and parents will be notified, and no one would be harmed.
Obviously, there is a grain of truth in their words, and it is obvious why kids are ready to cope with all the risks of such application – they know parents cannot trace what they tell there. What can you do as a parent? The wisest thing is talking to your child – be frank and open, and try explaining all the dangers that are waiting for your kid in the media, especially the anonymous one. The dialogue will help you becoming friends – and this will ensure you will become a part of kid’s life.
Parental controls should be applied as well to rest assured that your children will not get in trouble,. With a reliable monitoring app like Pumpic, you will always know what your little ones do on the Internet, be able to intervene, and avert possible risks in the making.