By After School Communications Manager Michael Luchies
Social media platforms serve as communication tools, just like a telephone network, video conferencing service, or an online chat room. While technology is not able to block all forms of misuse, like someone screaming at someone on the telephone, there are effective ways that companies can use their technology to keep users safe.
What is After School?
After School is a communication tool that allows teens to connect and share with their classmates within their high school. It simplifies the process of how they communicate with others at their school. A teen can anonymously share what’s going on in their life and know that only members of their school can see and respond to it.
Is After School Safe?
As the largest teen-focused social network in the U.S., naturally, we receive a lot of questions about safety, including “Is the After School App safe?” But what exactly does safety mean for a social network?
To understand what safety online is, let’s look at a definition of online safety:
“Internet Safety, or Online Safety, is the knowledge of maximizing the user’s personal safety and security risks on private information and property associated with using the internet, and the self-protection from computer crime in general.”
Our safety efforts here at After School extend beyond a single user. We focus on keeping users, schools, communities, and information protected through a wide variety of safety features.
Safety Features on After School
After School uses both human and technical moderation to prevent and remove harmful posts from After School.
- Threat Reporting
The app’s threat reporting system allows After School to catch potential threats and notify schools and local law enforcement immediately.
- Enforceable Community Guidelines
Through our Community Guidelines, After School outlines what is and isn’t acceptable on the app. These guidelines are enforceable through our moderation and other native features to ensure that we block or remove inappropriate posts, in accordance with our Zero Tolerance policy against cyberbullying and threats. .
- Crisis Text Line
After School partners with Crisis Text Line to refer teens who may be in crisis directly to a trained Crisis Counselor. A user can then text this counselor cost free, anonymously. Tens of thousands of teens have used this service through After School, and this relationship has resulted in over 65 active rescues where EMTs have successfully responded and been able to prevent harm from taking place.
- Partnerships and Campaign
Providing safety goes deeper than just blocking and removing harmful posts from a network; it needs to include proactive prevention efforts. After School works to prevent harm by educating teens on important online and offline issues, such as cyberbullying, teen dating violence, civic engagement, and digital citizenship. We also engage users in positive activities and campaigns carried out by our partner DoSomething.org.