Parents and others who want to access the app would have to lie to do so, saying on Facebook that they attend the high school.Even then, parents could be stopped by an algorithm that aims to block people from posing as high school students.Because it is designed to be accessible only to teenagers, many parents and administrators have not known anything about it.Envisioned as a safe space for high schoolers to discuss sensitive issues without having to reveal their names, After School has in some cases become a vehicle for bullying, crude observations and alleged criminal activity, all under a cloak of secrecy.After receiving harassing messages, she had to change her number."After School" is a social media app that allows teens to post anonymously on message boards closed to adults and provides a space to ask difficult questions without revealing their identities.This video describes safety features the app's creators added following criticism that it allowed students to post bullying messages as well as threats. “I don’t feel like there should be something that excludes parents.” Cyberbullying has been around nearly as long as the Internet, and teens have taken conflicts and taunts to social media on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as via text messages.Millions of teenagers in high schools nationwide are using a smartphone app to anonymously share their deepest anxieties, secret crushes, vulgar assessments of their classmates and even violent threats, all without adults being able to look in.
Callahan said the bar is very low for what is banned: Even a comment such as “Michael is a slow runner” would be blocked.
Cory Levy, 24, one of the app’s founders, said After School gives teens a chance to “express themselves without worrying about any backlash or any repercussions.” He said the app is a new way for teens to ask difficult, uncomfortable questions anonymously and to more directly address issues such as depression, how to come out as gay to one’s parents or how to navigate the daily challenges of teen life.
Levy said the product creates 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.
Last month, a user posted a photo of a gun on After School with an accompanying threat about something “going down” at Robert E.
Lee High in Springfield, Va., leading to a police investigation.
Similar to Yik Yak — an open app that has become popular on college campuses — After School allows teens to post comments and images on message boards associated with individual high school campuses but carries nothing identifying the students who post there.