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Trendy Anonymous Apps Parents Need to Know

Trendy Anonymous Apps Parents Need to Know

Anonymous apps are still popular with our teens. But, I’m encouraged that some of the most popular anonymous apps just last summer have now been removed from the Google Play and iOS store. Parents, this is good news! Half of the anonymous apps we saw trending in the summer of 2017 have been removed from my list today because they are no longer available.

Anonymous Apps no longer available

  • Sarahah
  • Yik Yak
  • BurnBook
  • Secret
  • Kandid

But, there are still anonymous apps in the iOS and Google Play Store.

As a parent, what do you need to need to know about these trendy anonymous apps?

On anonymous apps, people often feel that their comments are consequence-free. So, anonymous apps tend to be places where you’ll find a great deal of ugly discussion and harsh, hurtful comments. While anonymous apps provide kids a safe place to share sensitive or painful things they might not otherwise, most lack the necessary support or help kids need for their struggles.

Make sure your kids understand the risks involved in sharing sensitive, personal information with strangers. Encourage them instead to reach out to adults and mentors who have a vested interest in their lives. And give them opportunities to share with other safe, trusted people. If you do permit your teens to use an anonymous app, be sure they know how to block and report other users if necessary.

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Here are 3 Trendy Anonymous Apps Parents Need to Know

AfterSchoolAfterSchool

Age: 13 & Up
In App Purchases: No
Contains Ads: Yes

AfterSchool is an anonymous app for teens. The app was removed from the app store after complaints from school administrators about bullying incidents and has since been updated with moderation and tighter age-verification. AfterSchool uses a teen’s Facebook profile to verify they’re a student at a specific high school before granting access to the school’s page within the app.

Once the teen has been granted access to their school’s page, they can see videos, images, and posts created anonymously by other students. They can also create anonymous posts themselves. A live moderator reviews all posts and tags them to note the type of content they contain. Only teens 17 and up can view posts tagged with “sex,” “drugs,” “profanity,” or “gross.” Teens must verify they’re over 17 by scanning the code on their ID card.

What Teens Say

Teens like having a place where they can ask difficult, uncomfortable questions without fear of being judged. Most teens have grown up carefully crafting their digital identity. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter often don’t give them a place to share their personal struggles and anxieties. Being able to share struggles and even frustrations is the biggest draw AfterSchool has for teens.

What Parents Should Know

After being retooled with added safety features, such as every post being reviewed by a staff member before publication, AfterSchool was re-released last spring and has since exploded in popularity. The app went from being in half of the high schools in America to two-thirds, with 250,000 teenagers registered.

AfterSchool verifies age and school with Facebook. While this is better than nothing, it’s an incredibly easy system to spoof. If you are friends with a few teens at any given school, you can potentially get access to the message boards for that school on AfterSchool.

Anonymous apps can quickly become ground for cyberbullying. AfterSchool has tried to combat this issue by moving to moderated posts. However, they have strides to go here.

The app is targeted at teens, yet uses images that are sexualized. And, they have a 17 & Up area for tags like sex, drugs, profanity, and gross. That’s a concern when trying to raise kids to value themselves and others and to use technology wisely.

AfterSchool is available for iOS and Android devices.

 

AskfmAsk.fm

Age: 13 & Up
In App Purchases: Yes
Contains Ads: Yes

Ask.fm is a social site that lets kids ask questions and answer those posted by other users. Sometimes they are asking and answering anonymously.

What Teens Say

There are some friendly interactions on Ask.fm and the ability to toss out a question or answer one is appealing for many teens. There are also lots of mean comments and some creepy sexual posts. This iffy content can be the appeal of the site for some teens. Some of what you’ll see there is reality-show-shocking and does have that, “I can’t believe they said that” draw to it.

What Parents Should Know

Ask.fm is a social site where users ask and answer questions posted by other users. Bullying is a major concern. In fact, the British news website MailOnline reported that the site has been linked to the suicides of several teens.

As with many social sites, some users keep things friendly and clean, while others post hateful comments or sexual come-ons.

Kids have the option of answering questions via webcam. The site doesn’t monitor content, but users can report behavior that’s violent, pornographic, or contains hate speech.

Talk to your teens about cyber-bullying and how anonymity can encourage mean behavior. Anonymous answers are optional. Users can decide whether to allow anonymous posts and can remove their answers from streaming to decrease their profile’s visibility. If your teens do use the site, turning off anonymous answers may lower the chances of getting aggressive answers in their stream.

Ask.fm is available for iOS and Android devices.

 

TTBH

Age: 12 & Up
In App Purchases: No
Contains Ads: No

TBH is texting lingo which stands for “to be honest.” So the TBH app has cleverly used texting lingo teens know and created an app where users can ask and answer questions and polls anonymously about their classmates. When setting up an account, users must grant permission for TBH to access the location and contacts on their device. TBH then uses the GPS information to list schools in the area. Users select the school they attend.

TBH came along on the heels of Sarahah, which was pulled from the app market due to bullying issues. TBH is trying to be a bully-free anonymous app. When users create a poll, it is approved by the developer before going live. While the app is anonymous, users can see color codes for other users, pink for girls, blue for boys. Teens I’ve spoken with said it is fairly easy for them to determine which of their friends have voted or put up a poll. In October of 2017 TBH was purchased by Facebook.

What Teens Say

TBH was very popular in 2017. It was released during the rise of anonymous apps. Teens love that they can connect anonymously with others at their school. They love creating polls. 

What Parents Should Know

There is no verification for users. Anyone can set up an account. This means adults can join TBH, select a school, and participate in the polls and conversations anonymously with your teen. Teens need to be very aware of this. TBH, like many apps, is gamified. Gems are awarded when a user’s name is selected in a poll. This makes it easy for teens to become overly focused on a non-productive app. Although the polls are moderated, you’ll still find plenty of polls with inappropriate content. Even if the content is clean, there rarely are polls that fall within the “educational” range.

TBH is available for iOS devices.

 

You can find a full list Popular Apps for Teens in my eBook Apps All Parents Should Know

Trendy Anonymous Apps That Parents Need to Know

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