Student Bullying Made Easier Through Anonymous Apps, Parents WarnedBy Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
Bullying, the act of intimidating someone to make them do what one wants to do, is very common among schools, and with the advent of technology, parents need to prepare themselves for one kind of bullying that can happen 24/7 - cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying, or bullying that is done through electronic technology, can be done through social media accounts, text messages, email, and more, says StopBullying.gov, a website made by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Cyberbullying is quite prevalent. According to a survey, about 15% of high school students were bullied through electronic means in 2013. Now, with the rise in smartphone apps that allow students to post and interact with others anonymously, parents need to give more efforts to protecting their children from such abuse.
"You take the good with the bad," Ocean Springs School District Superintendent Coleman-Potter told the Sun Herald. "There's always the possibility a student will use one of these anonymous apps for the wrong reason."
Anonymous apps, such as After School and Ask.fm, allow any user to post anything without the risk of revealing their identity. Such apps have been used by various people to scare other students, and threaten them with violence, among others.
Nikki Herring, a mom of two students in the Biloxi School District, for example, worries that schools might not be able to protect her children from cyberbullying.
"I contacted the school district several times about my daughter and bullying," she said. "They kept saying there was nothing they could do, or that they had dealt with the issue according to their policies."
As such, parents are advised to keep up with social media trends so that they can monitor their children's social media activities. Some apps, however, need more than just tech- and social media-savvy due to their anonymous nature.
Here are some apps that parents should watch:
While this social media platform only gathers a user's location, it allows users to post comments that are accessible to the nearest 500 people, within a one- to five-mile radius.
This app allows users to share secrets and post photos anonymously.
This app allows users to send video and picture messages that disappear after 10 seconds. Phones using the app can store the data, however, and allows the receiver to take screenshots.
This anonymous app has been linked to cyberbullying and suicides. Although it doesn't reveal a user's identity, it does allow interaction with strangers.
This app shows pictures of people who are nearby. It is known as an app used for hooking up because it pulls matches from within a certain mile radius.