Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Dangers of Anonymous Social Networking Apps: Parents Need to Know What Their Kids are Seeing

Apps are constantly being developed that allow people to communicate their thoughts and feelings with others. This has resulted in cyberbullying that is far reaching. Parents and educators keep up to the best of their ability, but they are often shocked by the swift nature of Social media. Add to the problem the new fad of anonymous postings and it is a face-paced race to keep up.

Continued education about the newest technology is the key. Because we work with teenagers every day, we hear about many of the sites and apps that children and teens are using appropriately and inappropriately. There is a new one. Parents need to know that a new app, Burnbook, has gone viral recently. It was based on the Burn Book from the movie Mean Girls. With this app, students can post pictures and comments anonymously. In addition, you choose a “community” to follow. For example, students can monitor posts from their high school “community” or other schools in their area. Therefore, while it is an app that includes comments from anyone, anywhere, it is very easy for a person to monitor only comments about people in their "community." Recent events have lead to cyberbullying, inappropriate pictures, and threats using the Burnbook app.  

New sites are developed frequently and it is very difficult to know about them all, so we encourage parents to talk to each other and share what they know. Sharing articles like the one we provide here is a great start. It is a very well-written article that provides information about 15 commonly used sites, with the benefits, as well vulnerabilities and dangers of using these sites. This is a must-read article for parents and educators.


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