Manufactured compliments spread cheer, however shallow.
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What Parents Need to Know
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What’s It About?
To register for BRIGHTEN, teens have to provide both a phone number and an email address and are encouraged to complete a profile that includes a picture. They can invite contacts from their phone and see which contacts are already registered. Then they can send messages for friends to "brighten" their days. Users can send messages anonymously but reveal their identities even after messages are sent. There's also a community board where teens can post questions and comment on other's posts on love advice, vents, and random thoughts.
Is It Any Good?
Despite its emphasis on positive connections, this social networker doesn't really stand out in the crowd. Since it's only available on iOS, teens can't connect with all their friends. The focus on brightening someone's day with a positive comment is noble, but these brief messages are often shallow and serve only to feed the dopamine rush that can fuel tech addiction. The Community -- which gives teens the chance to vent, ask for love advice, or share weird thoughts -- is pretty cool but can get racy. While it's definitely a more positive approach to the anonymous app, it might benefit from more features and offscreen options to deepen the experience.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the power of positive words such as those encouraged by brighten. Talk about how it feels to get a message from someone and how you can spread that positivity to other even without technology. Kids could make a card for a friend, call a loved one to say hello, or give a compliment to a neighbor.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Skills: Emotional Development: empathy, perspective taking, Communication: friendship building, Tech Skills: social media, using and applying technology
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: January 2, 2017
- Category: Social Networking
- Topics: Friendship, High School
- Publisher: Brighten Labs, Inc.
- Version: 3.3.3
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.0 or later
- Last updated: January 17, 2017
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