Kids and teens are voracious consumers of apps that let them easily text, chat, meet people, share pictures and post videos – often anonymously. While it’s no secret that children are sharing more information than ever before, they are increasingly drawn to sites that tout anonymity.
There are dozens of apps that allow users to interact while keeping their identities secret. And these apps garner billions of views from millions of users every month.
According to Dr. Arthur Cummins, administrator with the Orange County Department of Education’s Center for Healthy Kids & Schools, “Anonymous outlets offer kids the freedom to share their feelings, opinions and secrets without fear of judgment. Too often, however, these apps are being used to promote shaming, bullying and threats. It’s imperative for parents and educators to remain aware.”
As the number of apps that offer anonymity increases, it becomes almost impossible to keep track of them all. But the more we know, the better we can help our kids make safe choices and use social media responsibly. To that end, here are 10 popular anonymous and secret apps that are at the forefront of this emerging trend.
- After School is an app specifically created for high school students that operates like a private message board for the school.
- Ask.fm is a social network where members interact by inviting others to ask anonymous questions.
- Burnbook is an app that allows users to anonymously post pictures and text.
- Burn Note is a texting app that stores messages until they are first viewed and then erases them after a set period.
- Fess is an anonymous app for high school students to post messages. Users confirm that they are in high school through their Facebook accounts.
- Secret – Be yourself lets users anonymously share whatever’s on their minds, and the posts can be seen by a user’s phone contacts or nearby users.
- Snapchat allows users to send photos and videos that disappear within seconds of being viewed.
- Truth is an app used to send messages anonymously to recipients from the user’s phone contacts.
- Whisper allows users to anonymously share a personal “confession” set on top of an image.
- Yik Yak lets users anonymously post brief comments that can only be viewed by other uses that are geographically close and reveals their location.