Despite the best efforts of school districts, parents and advocacy groups promoting online safety, many children and adults continue to not understand or have forgotten that information and photos you post online, in group chats or in text messages do not disappear when you delete them.
The use of technology requires responsibility, and it’s important to discuss with your children the importance of online safety and the need for digital citizenship.
The Cherokee County School District’s Internet Acceptable Use Policy outlines student and employee responsibilities in regard to using technology. This policy and other online resources can be found at http://cherokeek12.net/online-safety. In addition to reviewing these resources, you are encouraged to conduct your own research.
An article published in April in eSchool News discussed six underground apps that students are using, and they are worth knowing about. Surprisingly, they can be downloaded from iTunes.
- Whisper. This app lets users share their thoughts or opinions via text that is placed on top of an image. Users can connect directly with other users, making it a prime haven for cyber bullying and harassment.
- ASKfm. This app lets users ask anonymous questions.
- Calculator%. According to the app, “anyone who starts this application will see a calculator but if you put in a passcode it will open to a private area.”
- HICalculator. This app indicates it “can hide your photos and videos behind a calculator.” Both calculator apps easily could be passed over by a parent.
- Hide It Pro. Another app that allows photos and videos to be hidden behind a locked screen. The application automatically locks when users exit it and a code-enabled feature makes the app appear empty if someone, like a parent, finds it.
- Yik Yak. This is a location-based app that allows users to post text-only messages that are only visible to users who are closest to the poster’s location. This one has been around for a while and is known to contain frequent sexual content and other references to drug use, crude humor and fantasy violence.
By Mark Kissel, contributing writer and Chief of Police for Cherokee County School District, where he has served since 1999.