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Awareness, Education & Training
on CyberBullying Prevention

Hands up if you’ve heard of Confide, WUT or Popcorn Messaging!

Don’t worry, like many parents and people over the age of about 17, you are not alone in not having heard of these. They are as you may have guessed smartphone applications that are freely available to download in the various platform specific application stores. You may have read our recent post on the App called Beetalk which talked about the new App that is sweeping the Asian market it’s targeted at. Well as they say these days, another week, another app.

It’s not surprising that applications are being churned out at a frightening speed. After all, the media really helps sell the idea of building an app that will take the world by storm and make its developer a rich person in the meantime. Some of you may well have read about the latest game doing the rounds in the major press – Flappy Bird – a game that was generating $50,000 USD a day in revenue and was yanked from the app store, by it’s Vietnamese developer, because of all the criticism he was receiving. Stories like this get young developers minds racing and as such more and more applications hit the market.

Here at BTCB, we are huge fans of progress, technology and advances in communication. For the main part many of the new apps developed are fantastic when used appropriately. What has us slightly worried is the ability to use these applications for bad. We’ve highlighted three of them below for parents and teachers to be aware of in the near future. All three of them have a familiar thread running through them, which is that of anonymity. This has us somewhat worried, especially when you look at who these apps are targeting. So, let’s jump in and see what they are all about.

 

Confide – this app allows you to send messages that disappear forever once they’ve been read. Your message is sent and it hidden behind boxes. The only way to read it, is to slide your finger across the boxes. Your message is revealed but once you have read it, it’s deleted. You also can’t take screenshots of the message either.  You can send messages to any email address or phone number and everything is encrypted.

Their website describes Confide as ‘letting you say what you want, honest and unfiltered’.

Sometimes though, it’s that lack of filter that gets people into trouble in the real world, let alone online! Currently only available through iTunes for Apple users, but Android users will also soon be able to get hold of it.

 

WUT – this app takes the anonymity element to the next level. The official website has nothing but download links for iOS and Android and the only words on there are ‘Semi Anonymous Chat’. We downloaded this app to test it and admittedly were a little perplexed at how to get it to work. But within a couple  of minutes, we were ‘telling everybody’ our message.

That’s slightly misleading, because this app requires your Facebook account to work – it will find others using WUT and you can then communicate amongst each other. The catch being, you are not sure who is saying what.

The alert for the message does not make a sound, even if you are not in silent mode. And once you have seen the message on your lock screen, it’s gone. In the BTCB world, it doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to think about how this could be mis used on a large scale.

 

Popcorn Messaging – an interesting concept that allows you to chat with anyone that has the app, within a 1 mile radius of your current location. Yes, that’s right, complete strangers within a one mile radius of you, that have the app, can be contacted and communication initiated. A great concept for sure, and one that has been taken on in Tokyo, London, New York and Holland as it happens as it would open up communication channels to get so many questions answered.

Why you want to be aware of this one – it’s main target market is kids and young people. In fact it’s iTunes preview actually says ‘chat at school when you are bored in class’ – the slightly snap chat looking logo, is geared to the young persons demo graphic and another line on the preview states ‘Popcorn is ideal for school campuses and dorms….’

These are just three we wanted to high light for this week. Again we are not anti these apps in any way at all. We think they are great concepts and used correctly can add huge value to any and all users. But perhaps before they are downloaded and used for negative, it would be worthwhile having the BTCB team come to your school or organisation to perform our seminars and workshops that will allow us all to take advantage of these great new apps, in the most positive sense possible.

Until next time, stay safe online!