There’s often an app of the month that we’re warned about: This month, that app sounds innocent enough. Called After School, it was originally created as a digital refuge for high schoolers to talk about thoughts, feelings, fears and worries in a safe and completely anonymous space.
But here’s the problem: It was designed to be only accessible to teenagers and not their parents. Want to download the app? Kids have to verify that you attend high school through their Facebook pages and by creating restricted message boards for each high school campus.
Consider it the ultimate parent-free environment now used by used on more than 23,000 high school campuses, easily putting its users in the millions. All of which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, except that its message boards have recently derailed into hotbeds of bullying, gossip and even violent threats, all abetted by its anonymity.
Students even petitioned Apple to take the After School out of the app store. Which the company did; but developers of the app came back with an updated version, which is now used by an estimated 2 to 10 million US high school students.
Read more about the app and its impact here.