In the hit movie “Mean Girls”, BurnBook was a rage and now the Burnbook mobile app has gone viral amongst school students causing concern all around. Burnbook is a free app that allows users to find school communities near them and anonymously post comments or pics about anyone or anything. They don’t have to sign in or create a username. They can just pick a name and open anonymous judgment. Other users can like, comment, up-vote or down-vote it.
Although the Burnbook app is for users above 17 and the website’s “terms of service” page clearly states that users “May not use the service to transmit content that is hateful, abusive or otherwise objectionable by Burnbook’s users”, it doesn’t stop students from cyberbullying or threatening others. The controversial app has made headlines for encouraging cyberbullying and violence threats among high school students. The app can be downloaded on Android and iOS phones.
A recent student threat via the app about bringing a gun to the San Diego’s Del Norte High School prompted the CEO and developer of the Burnbook app to announce that they would make changes in the app. However, the changes won’t be applied to ordinary everyday cyberbyllying.
The current top review for the Burnbook app on iTunes states, “This app was created to increase cyberbullying. There’s no other reason.” The reviewer further adds, “The app has become popular at my school and is specifically targeting a small group of people. I wish I could repeat the evil things that were posted so I could get my point across, but I cannot bring myself to spread those gruesome things even further.“
Following are some of the reactions on Twitter:
It makes me sick that somebody was horrible enough to create the Burn Book app.
— Ryan Harmon (@harmlander) April 2, 2015
Cyberbullying and any form of bullying is never ok!!! If you have the Burnbook app delete it IMMEDIATELY.
— Christa Boone (@B_O_O_N_E) April 2, 2015
The burn book is such a stupid idea. Y’all need to grow up and stop being so horrible to each other, especially through an anonymous app.
— Rylee Walter (@r_y_l_e_e_) April 2, 2015
Some parents and students are posting positive messages too:
— NBC DFW (@NBCDFW) March 21, 2015
DID U SEE?! Forest City students are fighting the Burn Book App by making a chain reaction of ONLY positive posts! 🙂 pic.twitter.com/CM71zuHQuh
— 98.5 KRZ (@985wkrz) March 23, 2015
Parents could talk to their children, ask them in a friendly manner if they use the Burnbook app at school and warn them about the dangers of cyberbullying. They could also contact the school authorities to find out if the school was aware about how its students were using the app during school time or if they have set any rules about using it in school.
Some schools are already taking action and warning their students that the school would take action if they posted anything inappropriate or threatening. “After School”, a similar app, has recently been banned from the App Store after it was found that the users used it to threaten shootings in school.