What Should Educators and Parents Teach Students About Anonymous Apps?

The notion of anonymity often removes tact and thoughtfulness, encouraging users to post content they might not normally send if their names were included in the posts. With the prevalence of anonymous apps like Secret and Snapchat certainly not declining, here are some ways that teachers and parents can encourage positive use of anonymous messaging apps.

Be kind
Teach students the importance of being kind and the effects of being unkind. Treating others the way you want to be treated still applies, even if no one knows who you are.

Be honest
Honesty is always the best policy. Encourage students to avoid starting rumors or lies about their peers. And remind them that spreading a rumor is just as bad as starting it. Teach students to practice honest intentions before posting and sharing.

Have fun
Social networks are meant to be fun, and sometimes the fun part goes out the window with anonymous apps. Help students keep the fun part of being social at the front of their minds. And share with them that if they’re having fun at the expense of someone else, that’s not fun at all.

Keep what’s private, private
Private matters do not belong on the Internet, and this includes private parts. Make students aware that once something is shared on the Internet there is no turning back. And just because the posts are anonymous, that doesn’t mean it can’t come back to them at some point.

Instead of shunning anonymous apps for all their negative possibilities, consider embracing them while encouraging positive use. It’s all a part of being a good digital citizen. If you don’t have a digital citizenship campaign at your school, now might be as good a time as any to start one.