The new year is nearly here and we decided to provide a short recap of this last year here at After School. We have a lot of exciting things planned for next year, but before moving forward, let’s take a look back to see where we’ve come from and what we were able to accomplish.
After School gives teens a safe, fun, and secure space to connect and share with classmates. We have formed partnerships with a wide variety of companies and organizations who share our our goals and desire to help teens. Several new partnerships were formed this year, including:
Kaity’s Way raises awareness and educates youth and others to prevent teen dating violence. With their help, After School assists teens in recognizing warning signs and dealing with difficult and sometimes violent relationship issues.
My Digital TAT2
My Digital TAT2 “helps families stay connected through open communication, and to inspire creating communities of thoughtful and respectful online engagement.” We worked with the MDT2 teen interns to test our app and features and provide valuable feedback.
At the age of 14 in 2013, Gabby Frost founded Buddy Project to help prevent suicide and raise mental health awareness. Buddy Project has connected over 100,000 people together, giving them support groups and friendships. After School has partnered with Buddy to spread their efforts to our audience and we look forward to collaborating with them more in 2019.
After School Compliments
In addition to updates to existing features, we unveiled Compliments in the After School App. This feature prompts users to compliment their friends. The development of Compliments took the hard work of our entire team, from the design and development of the feature to working with experts at universities across the country to ensure the feature was not objectifying students. With their assistance, we included new questions in the feature to ensure that the compliments given to students were not based solely on physical traits (e.g. who has the nicest smile?) but also on one’s character (e.g. who is the most supportive friend?).
The feature successfully encouraged students to brighten the days of their classmates and has been used millions of times within the app.
Earlier this year, we launched the Change 💩 campaign to engage teens across the country in important issues and conversations. Efforts within the campaign launched this year included:
We teamed up with our partner DoSomething.org to raise awareness about the midterm elections. Thousands of teens interacted with the campaign and dozens of teens registered to vote.
With the help of anti-bullying activist Paula Orrego, we designed and launched a bullying awareness campaign that asked teens to define bullying. Through thousands of responses, we gained perspective on how teens think about this problem, while learning that 71% of them would tell someone if they believed they were being bullied.
- “A constant harassment physical and mentally.”
- “Bullying is other kids who [have] been bullied for being different and pick on someone else for being different.”
- “Making fun of someone bc they r different.”
In late December, with the help of The Trevor Project, we launched an in-app LGBTQ+ support initiative. We asked teens if they would support a friend who came out as LGBTQ+, if they have friends who are already out, and then supplied them with information on how to support their LGBTQ+ friends.
Top Blog Posts
From hosting our very own Social Media Safety in Schools event that focused on preventing suicide and improving the mental health of teens, to presenting at the UN in New York, to speaking at the Internet Governance Forum in Paris, we’ve had a busy year spreading the word about our efforts, learning from others, and partnering with companies and nonprofits. We also partnered with the organizers of Hack Mental Health, sponsored #ICANHELP’s annual event, sponsored Internapalooza, and much more.
What’s in Store for 2019?
After School is dedicated to giving teens a fun and safe place to connect and share with their high school classmates. We will continue to grow and evolve over the next year, giving teens a beneficial online experience while providing them additional unique opportunities thanks to our many partners, from access to trained Crisis Counselors from Crisis Text Line to information about the latest social campaigns on DoSomething.org.
The team behind After School has launched a new product to give you the ability to communicate faster and more effectively with your networks.