A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Burn Note is a messaging app that erases messages after a set period of time. Unlike many other apps of this sort, it limits itself to text messages -- users cannot send pictures or video. Also, through the use of a unique display system, it's more difficult for recipients to copy or take screenshots of the messages sent to them (but not impossible -- you can simply use another device to take a video of the message as it's being revealed). Parents should be aware of the app, though, as it allows kids and teens to communicate covertly, with no evidence that the conversation ever took place.
What's it about?
Users can send text messages -- both to users of the app and those who don't -- that only exist for a short time before they're erased from BURN NOTE. The app suggests an amount of time to ensure the recipient has time to read the note, but, ultimately, it's the sender's call. Those who haven't downloaded Burn Note will get an email with a link to a Web page where they can read any messages they've received. To discourage copying and taking screenshots, a spotlight-like system hat recipients direct with a finger (or the mouse) only reveals a portion of the message at a time.
Is it any good?
There's a lot of suspicion around the many apps that allow users to exchange messages and then erase the communications, and Burn Note certainly is a member of that pack. The lack of picture and video capability may reduce some of the concerns parents may have; still, the nature of Burn Note makes it conducive to cyberbullying and similarly inappropriate behavior, so it's important that parents and teens don't let their guard down. And, while secretly recording a message may be slightly more clunky with Burn Note than with some similar apps, it's still easy to do with a second device.
For teens who want a fun and novel way to send messages, Burn Note works fine -- they just shouldn't have any expectation that what they send will remain private.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why it's important to know who you're communicating with before sharing information.
Talk with kids about the fact that even though Burn Note may be fun and novel, they shouldn't expect to have any true privacy with the app. It's easy to create a record of a message using another device.
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