Digital Citizenship: Anonymous app anxiety

Streetchat hits RB’s network

Nina Dorenbos, Staff Reporter

As the RB student body left their classrooms to see a variety of presentations about how posting information online can affect their futures during Internet Safety Day, they were also grapping with a whole new social media application that has entered the building – Streetchat.

Streetchat is an anonymous message board app that links members together by the school they attend.  Initially, Streetchat was used to post humorous pictures and jokes.

“I thought it was really fun to use during school and a nice way to pass the time during study hall,” senior  Natalie O’Callaghan said.

As more students downloaded the app, the anonymous aspect of Streetchat was being abused. Posts that consisted of embarrassing pictures of friends became negative and hurtful. Streetchat developed into an outlet for bullying.

“I think it’s very bad that it [Streetchat] is anonymous because bullies can take advantage over anybody,” sophomore Carlie Wilson said.

Many students felt victimized because of Streetchat and RB faculty became involved with this problem.

“I ask[ed] students what they were doing [with Streetchat]. Were they using it in a way that’s abusive and destructive or constructive?” Assistant Principal John Passarella said.

Subsequently, students slowly refrained from posting offensive pictures and the users of Streetchat declined.

“I thought it was funny until people started targeting others and making fun of them,” sophomore Kathryn Sessler said.

At RB, Streetchat currently seems to have just been a fad.  Still, whether anonymous apps like it can be used at RB in a fun, proactive way remains to be seen.

“Communicating on the Internet is a wonderful thing,” Instructional Technology Coordinator Bridget Wilmot said.  “I think that’s the world we live in today. I always just get concerns about sites where people can be anonymous and use that [power] irresponsibly and unwisely because sometimes they start forgetting what it means to be a good digital citizen.”