We have all said or done things we wish would disappear. Whether it was in a fit of rage or we spilled a secret, we have all had remorse at one time or another. Today, there is an app that erases or “burns” all of our messages after they are viewed. This app’s moniker? BurnNote.
NOTE: This post about BurnNote is a Guest Post by Hilary Smith. Her bio follows the post.
BurnNote is one of many disappearing messaging apps which focus on “self destructing” posts. The app claims that messages will erase after they have been opened and viewed after a certain amount of time has lapsed. Today, our teens and children are looking to this app and its cousins, because they enjoy the freedom and reduced stress of maintaining a stellar digital footprint. However, even though BurnNotes disappear, it doesn’t mean they can take back the words they typed.
All Parents Need To Know About BurnNote
As our kids look for alternative social media sites and apps hidden away from our prying eyes, their efforts are working to keep us out of their online activity. In fact, 70 percent of our children take measures to hide their Internet presence from us. It’s not surprising to find out they crave privacy. While BurnNote’s disappearing message feature does provide a sense of security, keeping sensitive emails and messages private, it can also backfire.
This secrecy makes it essential for us to understand the apps our kids are using and potential problems they could encounter. Thankfully, the creative minds at TeenSafe have compiled the following informative video explaining all the ins and outs of BurnNote:
A Warning To Parents About Disappearing Messages
As parents, we do need to understand that the BurnNote app offers our sons and daughters a little bit of freedom in a world where they have to worry about every post or like on social media. Disappearing messages can promote more authentic communication, because users aren’t stressing out about censorship or being judged or maintaining a stellar digital reputation. Typically, our kids share about their day, funny videos, homework, arranging Friday night’s plans, or little tidbits about their crushes.
However, the ephemeral qualities of this app might lead children on a dangerous path. Unfortunately, our kids are still developing the ability to evaluate risks and make sound judgments. A big part of this is the surge of brain growth that occurs in adolescence and doesn’t finish until the mid 20’s. This stage of normal development might lead our sons and daughters to view the disappearing element of this app as an invitation to be cruel or inappropriate to other users. This threat of digital harassment is real, especially when our kids have little fear of being caught with evidence of their deeds.
5 Tips To Keep Kids Safe On Disappearing Apps
BurnNote is not all doom and gloom. This app does offer our kids a fun outlet and helps them maintain ongoing conversations with their friends without publicly cluttering up everyone’s feeds on other social media sites. However, we do need to empower and instill our kids with the appropriate tools to handle the freedom BurnNote offers so they don’t get burned.
Listed below are 5 suggestions to keep our kids safely enjoying BurnNote and other disappearing messaging apps:
- Teach social media etiquette. It sounds simple, but our kids need to learn the manners and social guidelines that accompany today’s digital world. Help them stay safe and happy online by guiding them to develop a technological moral compass, too. Make sure they understand the power of words and how cyberbullying, sexting, and oversharing can harm them in the long run.
- Use the “grandma rule” as a guide. We often disagree with our kids about what is appropriate to share online. Ask them to only post or like items they would feel comfortable with their grandparents stumbling on. If it would embarrass or infuriate grandma, the post is probably inappropriate.
- If they encounter cyberbullying, either as a victim or a witness, have them tell an adult. Despite recent efforts to eliminate cyberbullying, studies believe that digital harassment rates have tripled. In fact, 87 percent of our kids have witnessed cyberbullying. If they seek help, we can prevent the situation from escalating.
- If a child is experiencing cyberbullying, open and read all messages together. Cyberbullying can make a child feel isolated and alone. Don’t allow this to happen on your watch, read all messages together and document them with screenshots, video, or copy them. As an added bonus, you can be emotional support for a child.
- If a child receives a bullying message, inform kids it’s best not to fire one back. Responding to bullying messages typically fuels the cyberbullying and escalates the situation. Ignore the message and seek help from an adult.
What tips do you have for keeping children safe online while using disappearing messaging apps?
Author Bio: After growing up in Austin, Texas, Hilary Smith traded in the sunshine to brave Chicago winters and pursue a freelance writing career. This tech geek with a nose for new gadgets, specializes in covering the telecommunications industry. She’s a yoga enthusiast who works out daily, a practice she began as a teen living in Austin.
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