The Short of It
Teens are using the relaunched After School app to post anonymous thoughts, and most parents have no clue.
Have you heard about After School? It's a smartphone app that thousands of high schoolers across the country are using to anonymously share secrets and post their innermost thoughts and fears. And because it's been designed to be accessible only by teenagers, many parents and administrators know nothing about it.
Similar to the controversial Yik Yak app, After School was envisioned as a "safe space" for high school kids to talk about senstive issues without having to reveal their names. Creator Cory Levy told TechCrunch, "After School was designed to give high school kids a place to publish thoughts without a fear that a parent or relative will see the content." He says the app is a much-needed alternative to Facebook and Instagram, "where teens have grown up carefully curating digital identities that might not reflect their true struggles and anxieties."
On After School, teens can ask difficult, uncomfortable questions—about things like depression, drugs or coming out—anonymously, without worrying so much about what other people will think. But after the app hit the App Store last October, it wasn't long before reports of cyberbullying and anonymous threats followed. After one Michigan teen took things too far last December by threatening an attack on his school, After School was pulled from the App Store.
After being retooled with added safety features, such as every post being reviewed by a staff member before publication, After School 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.
Maybe it's time to find out if yours is one of them.