Who is using this App?
The AfterSchool App is currently being used as a way for high school students to annonymously express their thoughts and feelings. It is very similar to another App called Yik Yak that is used primarily on college campuses. The App is currently available on over 22,000 high school campuses across the United States.
What is it?
The AfterSchool App is an anonymous message board app available on iOS and Android devices for high school students. Students can make anonymous posts for everyone at their school to see.
When was it created?
This App has actually been around since November of 2014, but was pulled from the Apple after several concerns about safety appeared. It reappeared with several safety improvements in April of 2015.
Where is it available ?
As of December 2015, the AfterSchool App is an iOS and Android App available to high school students across the country.
Why was it created?
The App was created to be a "safe" place where they can express their thoughts, feelings, and opinions without adult supervision on anonymous message boards.
Students select their school from the list and the App uses their Facebook account to verify that they actually attend the school. The App then verifies friends, education, and location information from their Facebook accounts.
Many adults have tried signing up for the App; however, the App uses algorithms to determine whether the person is an "imposter." The algorithm searches Facebook friends and profile information and even the language that you use in posts.
As mentioned earlier, there have been several safety features since its relaunch in April 2015. Here are a few:
- Text and image filters to catch inappropriate posts
- Every piece of content is reviewed by human moderators to moderate content
- Improved reporting features. Posts that are reported get removed from the feed. Those who abuse content can now be banned from using the app.
- 24/7 support.Whenever anyone writes a distressed post, they are contacted to see if they would like to talk with someone.
- A service named First was created to detect and alert schools of possible threats. School administration and local police departments are notified by the service.
What can parents do?
- Learn more about the App on its website
- Talk with your child to see if they are using the App. Reiterate appropriate and inappropriate behavior online.
- Realize that kids are going to make mistakes. Try to avoid condemning your child's mistakes and create an open environment where they can be honest.
- Be open to helping them navigate through the waters of the digital age.
- Check out Common Sense Media. It is filled with great resources to help you and your child navigate through the digital age.
Good Resources for Parents: