Watch CBS News

New App Targets Teens; Raises Red Flags

Follow CBSDFW.COM: Facebook | Twitter

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A new social media app targeting high school students has raised alarms about bullying and identity theft.

Called "After School," it allows students to post anonymous messages for their classmates. It checks a teen's location and Facebook to confirm where they go to school and asks them to scan the barcode on their driver's licenses to unlock "mature" content.

The app claims more than 400 students from Highland Park and almost 500 from Woodrow Wilson have signed up. At Bishop Dunne Catholic high school, the app says close to half the student body has enrolled.

"Many of our students have expressed concern," said principal Kate Dailey.

The school sent a warning to parents and has tech experts investigating the app. Dailey says she worries about its impact on students.

"To encourage them to be unkind, to maybe even bully," she said.

Users post anonymously and access content tagged "sexual", "drugs", or "profanity."

"They're not really aware of how much information they're giving away," said Dailey.

The app has received mixed reviews online.

"Honestly, it's just people saying funny things, who they like, and complimenting many people," wrote one user. Others say it led classmates to "post horrible, untrue things" and start polls on "who was the ugliest, fattest, sluttiest…"

Its makers say they've taken steps to ensure safety, offering a live helpline, allowing parental controls, adding an anti-cyberbullying emoji, and providing IP addresses schools can use to block it.

"We are firmly on the side of our schools and parents," reads a statement to CBS11.

Dailey, though says, she's urging parents to beware.

"Asking parents to really sit down with their children and talk about how some of these can be deceptive," she said.

After the school objected to the use of its school logo, the app did remove it.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.