An anonymous chatting app is enough to make any parent worry about their kids’ safety. Psst!Anonymous is launching for Apple users this month and joins the growing list of social media apps that parents need to watch out for when it comes to their kids’ digital life.
The creator of Psst!Anonymous wrote a blog post introducing their app to Medium and said, “It so happens that there was a need for an anonymous app that didn’t keep your messages… ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people could read a message and have it go away forever?’”
Fitting with the theme, the app’s developers chose to stay anonymous.
While convenient for some users, the anonymous factor can be a complete nightmare for parents. Bullies can easily target vulnerable teens on the app with no trace. Online predators can also get into contact with children, with parents and kids left in the dark to who they are actually talking to.
Around 37% of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 reported being bullied online and 23% reported that they’ve done something “mean or cruel” to someone else.
Similar to Snapchat, messages have a maximum lifespan of 30 seconds after being opened, with users being able to choose just how long people can see their message. Unlike Snapchat, however, messages can not be saved in personal conversations, nor can anything be screenshotted for later viewing. If one is getting bullied, the evidence is quickly erased, but the impact is there for much longer.
The app’s feed feature allows users to share messages and photos anonymously with the community for 48 hours before being erased forever.
Psst!Anonymous helps users protect their information with a simple “shake to lock” feature. Users only need to gently shake their phones to lock it and need to put in a 4-digit PIN code for it to be unlocked. And parental controls? Non-existent on Psst!Anonymous.
The creator, referred to as ‘Bob’ in any press, commented on why the app can be used by anyone. “Even teenagers should be awarded some privacy and that’s what we are offering.”
But for teenagers that are impressionable and already living with social media’s disadvantages, Psst! Anonymous can be an app that enables harmful behavior online.