Here we go again; Backchat (formerly named Backdoor) is another anonymous app that serves to keep teen conversations away from the preying eyes of parents and school officials.
Is this no big deal? You be the judge. After all, there is no shortage of ways for anyone to send anonymous messages, from Snapchat to Whisper to Secret, to name a few of the newer ones.
The idea with Backchat is that after you download the app, you connect using your Facebook or Google+ account. Your Backchat group of friends by default is your list of contacts on the social network you used to sign in.
You can then send messages to a recipient know to you, but the recipient doesn’t necessarily know it is you doing the sending. You can then give clues as to your identity and make a game out of it, but that part is optional.
So, assuming users are 13 years of age or older, is it safe for teens?
In the big picture, if your teen sends an anonymous message, and nobody ever knows who really sent it, the risks are minimal. If the recipient does determine the identity of the sender, and that post gets shared, reposted or otherwise distributed, that’s bad news if the content of the message is inappropriate.
And of course, Backchat is a great tool for cyberbullying, if that’s what your teen has in mind. You can target someone with whatever message you want, without them knowing who you are. Not all kids are cyberbullies, though, so parents probably don’t want to jump to conclusions. A bit of good news – if your teen is being harassed or cyberbullied on Backchat, it is very easy to report abuse, and you can do so from within the app with a couple of clicks.
The important takeaways for parents are twofold: first, you should have at least a basic knowledge of what sites and apps your teen is using, and second, if they are using anonymous sites and apps, while this alone is not proof of anything, chances are slightly higher that they are engaging in content that they’d rather you now know about
Click here for more information about getting up to speed on what is on your teen’s phone.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.