With a cloak of anonymity social norms generally fade as people cannot be held accountable for their words. This phenomena is easily observed in an app named After School which allows students to post comments and images on message boards associated with individual high school campuses.
The app has a vetting process that accesses the user’s Facebook account in order to verify that the user is actually a student of the specific high school. This makes the message boards only accessible by high school community’s, so the question is how does this app affect the Heritage community.
“The After School app has definitely made it feel a little weird to go to school because you don’t know who will be talking about you later on and it’s also discomforting to scroll through the app and see your first and last name mentioned in a comment,” says Brianna Martinez ’17.
After School creates a situation in which cyber bullying can become extremely prominent and it also allows students to pass unsolicited judgments without any consequences or accountability.
“I have deleted the app for my phone because I would rather not know what people are saying but I know a lot of kids that keep it so they are in the loop,” says Martinez.
Rumors are quickly spread through this newly found anonymity which can add another level of complexity to one’s social life.
“A lot of the times student post nice compliments or even use the app as a place to vent about their personal struggles anonymously, but some posts are vulgar, insensitive and just things that people wouldn’t say in the real world,” says Anamarie Wright ’17.
Overall these message boards blur the line between right and wrong as social norms fade away, this ultimately affects the Heritage community not only after school but in the classroom.by