A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that After School - Funny Anonymous School News for Confessions & Compliments uses kids' Facebook profiles to verify they're students at a specific high school before granting access to the school's page within the app. From there, teens see images and posts created anonymously by other students or can create anonymous posts themselves. The app was removed from the app store after complaints from school administrators about bullying incidents and has since been updated with moderation and tighter age-verification. A live moderator reviews every post and tags each with the type of content it contains. Teens 13 and up can register, but to see posts tagged with "sex," "drugs," "profanity," or "gross," teens must verify they're over 17 by scanning the code on their ID cards.
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- Kids say
What's it about?
To start using AFTER SCHOOL - FUNNY ANONYMOUS SCHOOL NEWS FOR CONFESSIONS & COMPLIMENTS, students must enable geolocation and select their high school from the list. The app will verify via Facebook (the friends list and profile information) that they're students at the indicated school and then show posts created by others at that school. Once verified, kids scroll through the simple interface, viewing posts that include text and images, which are from the device's camera, or meme images generated by keywords in the post and chosen by the poster. Kids can scroll through the posts and like them or create their own.
Is it any good?
After controversial beginnings -- including removal from the app store due to bullying and threats of violence at schools -- After School - Funny Anonymous School News for Confessions & Compliments has demonstrated that it is willing to go the extra mile to allow kids anonymity while maintaining a more positive, safe-as-possible environment. When moderators tag posts for content, they also can tag them as potential threats, which then alerts local authorities and school administrators. They also offer live-chat emotional support for posters who are judged as at risk for self-harm. The age controls are tight, too, which not only means that nonteen predators will have difficulty getting in, but it also means parents can't monitor teens' postings themselves. Some teens are unhappy with the Facebook-verification process, claiming they don't use Facebook and can't be verified as students at their schools. Teens can, in those cases, send a photo of their school identification card. Despite the tighter verifications and moderating, anonymous posting can still be risky, and sharing all profile information and geolocation raises privacy concerns. Keeping open communication with kids -- and schools, if issues arise -- is key.
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