Hidden forum used in several Indiana high schools could lead to cyber bullying

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 9, 2015)-- With one tap of the finger on a smart phone, thousands of high school students in Indiana have access to a private forum called “After School," a smart phone app for students to anonymously post personal information, gossip and sometimes threatening messages. The app is designed specifically for teens and keeps parents and teachers out.

“They need to get the teachers involved. They need to block it from their phones. You can block anything if you know about it,” says parent Annie Petroff.

According to the “After School” App, students at more than 22,000 high school campuses around the nation are logged on. Just in one day, the app showed hundreds of teens were active at more than 20 high schools around Indianapolis including North Central, Carmel, Avon, Zionsville, and Chatard. The posts that we found on the app were not entirely negative or graphic, but they were anonymous-- creating another concern for cyber bullying, which experts say can effect teens emotionally now and years down the road.

“If it was my kids, I would definitely regulate apps and watch their phones. I would not want my kids to be bullied or them to be the bully,” said parent Amanda Naylor.

The app’s creators say it gives teens a change to express themselves without worrying about what others will think and has a zero tolerance policy for cyber bullying or threatening messages, even though their creators may not be able to track that user.

Apple temporarily pulled After School from the app store because of several complaints. A new version is now available with dozens of new features that creators say will stop those issues. However, that does not put some parent’s minds at ease.

“They will make up something to make you feel bad about yourself. It is just people trying to get to you and you need to block all of that,” says Petroff.

 

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