Anonymous messaging app cultivates antisocial culture

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Eleanor Bogart-Stuart culture editor

As a senior in high school in 2017, I’ve grown used to the fad of the “anonymous message” app. Two years ago it was YikYak. One year ago it was Orqa, which was quickly shut down in order to prevent bullying. Now, students are faced with yet another medium to confess their crush or insult the kid who sits in front of them in English: After School.

I only heard about the app a couple of days ago, and the instant I was told I knew exactly what was awaiting me behind that sunglass-wearing lion. I had already received enticing text messages which promised that “an anonymous boy picked” me on After School, complete with a heart eyes emoji and a direct link to download the app.

This gimmick was not enough to trick me into excitement, but my twisted sense of curiousity got the better of me and I downloaded After School to investigate. All my expectations were, unfortunately, met.

After joining your school, you choose the grade you’re in and are finally allowed to anonymously share your thoughts with your class. After I’d spent a few moments scrolling through the brightly colored message board, what did I see? I saw a new, brightly burning star, the kind that explodes a few days after the initial excitement has faded.

It still saddens and disappoints me that, to this day, students from Beverly and thousands of other high schools are exhilarated by the chance to hide their true feelings from their peers, poking and prodding each other behind avatars of wacky animals, titillated by the idea that someone might find out their true identities.

I suppose that After School is simply a natural byproduct of a generation that’s become obsessed with social media and external validation. I realize now that although Instagram and Facebook provide a space for this kind of eulogizing, anonymous forums such as After School  cater to those who want to go a step further. These apps are a sanctuary for risque comments that shouldn’t be seen by adult eyes, encouraging secrets to be shared, truths to be spilled.

As someone who is nervous for college and entering the adult world, the one aspect of this trend I can relate to is the fact that my fellow 17- and 18-year-old peers clearly have no desire to enter adult life, as seen through their childish behavior.

Apps like After School perpetuate an extraordinarily passive attitude toward living life. They encourage doing the bare minimum, they rob users of the opportunity to experience. All I can say is that if you want a thrill or a rush, why not go up that person in your English class and tell them that you can’t focus when they chew their gum that loudly? Why not go up to the person you like and kiss them?
Don’t be an After School user. Be a real life player.

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