New Apps offer more anonymity – Good or NotSoGood
Hot on the heels of my last blog on the BeeTalk app, it seems that not a week goes by, where great new apps are appearing. Great that is, if they are used in a responsible way. By both children and adults. Unfortunately most of these apps also have the potential to used in a negative way so today I’ve brought you 3 of the newest with the potential to become your kids latest craze. They say good things come in threes or have I just made that up? In fact just found another one while researching so I’ll include it in post. Four for the price of one. What price says Wayne. If only..
Hmm. Anyhow, let’s take a look at these new smartphone Apps and just what parents need to be aware of. As usual I’m not charging for this sort of valuable information so please feel free to share this blog, or ask your School to get in touch about my Parents/Educators or Pupils/Students sessions on being safer online or protecting your Online Reputation.
If you’ve been following my blogs or recent tweets, you’ll know there’s been an increase in the development of apps which allow and aid information to be shared more anonymously, with many users gravitating towards such apps which offer aspects of anonymity. But it’s worth remembering, we have seen in the past, with Apps like Snaphack, and amazing emerging mobile forensics, content which we think we are sharing anonymously can still surface online.
So lowdown on lastest..
Once downloaded this app allows users to create and send messages, which when viewed, disappear. It has a UI (user interface), which offers ‘Screenshot’ protection, which alerts users if a recipient has attempted take a screen shot and offers users
“End-to-end encryption, which is an uninterrupted protection of the confidentiality and integrity of, transmitted data by encoding it at its starting point and decoding it at its destination”. Enough of the tech jargon thanks Wikipedia
With the Confide app, text is blocked out and can be seen only when you slide your finger over the screen.
According to ‘Confide’ their app enables you to ‘Say what you want, honest and unfiltered’. The website encourages you to ‘Go off the record with self destructing messaging’. Messages disappear after they’re read, ensuring all of your communication remains private, confidential and always ‘off the record’.
Currently Confide is only available on IOS – but will be coming to Android soon.
In order to function WUT needs access to your Facebook account. How it works – Download it to your Smartphone and once set up and synced with your Facebook friends list WUT allows you to pretty much send out anonymous messages to any of your Facebook friends without them knowing who the message has come from.
Your friends also need to have WUT downloaded in order to receive the messages but if it becomes popular that will happen. No prizes for guessing who this could be mis-used. WUT messages are silent so your childrens phone would not even vibrate/message tone when they receive messages on this app.
Popcorn messaging allows you to chat privately with other users in a 1 mile radius of your Smartphone. The idea behind the app, according to the description on iTunes, is to ‘immediately discover what people around you are doing – converse with others and live events, meet new people, and share meaningful thoughts amongst the local community’. Popcorn goes on to rave about its suitability for ‘school campuses and dorms, concerts and conventions, visiting new cities, or just getting through a boring day at the office’.
Bet your Boss (and parents/teachers and anyone who works with kids) will be happy to hear this. Just so we’re clear, it also encourages children in its iTunes App description to use it to ‘Chat at school when you are bored in class’.
Geosocial app development at its most responsible. Maybe not. Big marketing brands take heed.
Another interesting App concept. Telegram is similar to SMS but more flexible users can send photos, videos and documents to your phone contacts, who also use the Telegram app. It also offers the facility to create groups for up to 200 people.
So basically Wayne you’re telling me it’s like ‘What’s App’?. Well not exactly. According to the Telegram website this cloud based service is heavily encrypted and offers users the flexibility from several devices including desktops. Telegram goes on to say on their website FAQs that ‘Telegram is more secure than mass market messengers like WhatsApp and Link’.
Ok so your probably saying ‘What’s the difference’. Well unlike other messaging apps, the Telegram App allows users to set up ‘Secret Chat’.
Secret Chat includes a ‘Self-Destruct Timer’ which ‘removes any message sent using this feature from both devices’ within a timescale of 2 seconds to one week.
This is the way technology and the way that our young people communicate is evolving. I keep saying it and will continue to. As parents, educators and practitioners working with children and young people, you need to be aware. You don’t need to know every app, every platform or how everything works. But you do need to have an understanding. It’s time to get involved.