What is After School?

By February 29, 2016
What is After School?

What is After School?

What is After School? Parents should be very aware of this app as they would not have access to it unless they created a Facebook account as a child to look into it. Here we review the app and talk about potential dangers for parents to consider. We would like to thank one of our parents who recommended we review this app after she heard about it from her own teenagers.

About the app

According to the description in the iTunes store it states that a user can, “post confessions, funny experiences, compliments, feelings and more. New features include an option to chat with experts on school issues or anything stressing a user out. There is also improved reporting options because they have a “zero-tolerance” policy against cyber-bullying. In the itunes store the reviews are largely positive rating a 4 out of 5 stars.

Despite this, the app has had a history of problems. Three weeks after it’s initial launch in November of 2014, a teen in Michigan posted he/she was bringing a gun to school. This resulted in a police and FBI investigation. A similar incident occurred in Ohio a week later. Multiple Detroit schools have notified parents of the app and one school is petitioning to remove it from the app store. In addition, there was a petition on change.org seeking to get rid of the application from the Apple and Android stores. The petition was initially successful. It was removed, temporarily, but it’s available again largely because of some tweaks to their service delivery. Again, the app claims users can post anonymously, but the reality is that they are not anonymous.

Parent concerns

  • Access to this app requires a Facebook account that verifies age and school.
  • There is still a potential for cyber bullying. The app largely relies on the community reporting issues to keep things safe but can you really trust teenagers to do the right thing, all the time? They are still underage and still need supervision.
  • There is an option to see material that is more adult in nature. It’s listed in the filters section labeled “sexual” and “drugs” but to see this area you have to verify that you are 17+ years old or older by scanning in a valid form of identification. They say they will not share it with anyone but can you be sure. Also, scanning in id and sending it out to an unknown entities could present it’s own privacy concerns.

If you notice this icon on your child’s device and have concerns be sure to talk to them about internet and online safety and ettiquete. Be sure to keep an open line of communication about what is happening in their lives. Those teen years can be tough. We recommend you use Effective Communication to start the conversation.

Next week we will review another app. Be sure to subscribe to us on Youtube and follow us on Social Media. Take time and review some of our other reviews on apps your child may be using that parents may not know about. We are living in a different world and the need to be aware is important.

Until then, Be Safe in Cyber Space.

References

http://recode.net/2014/12/04/who-is-behind-after-school-the-anonymous-app-taking-over-american-high-schools/

https://www.change.org/p/apple-remove-the-after-school-funny-anonymous-school-news-for-confessions-and-compliments-app-from-the-apple-app-store

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