Should Parents Be Worried About Burn Note?
Today’s teens are becoming more and more tech-savvy, which means that they’re finding new ways to hide their digital footprints from their parents.
In fact, over 70% of teens make an effort to conceal their online behavior. How do they pull it off? One way is by using disappearing messaging apps such as Burn Note.
What is Burn Note?
Burn Note is a private messaging app originally designed for the confidential exchange of business information, however, it is now used by teens everywhere.
The app allows users to send messages that will delete after being read once. The sender of the message can set a time limit on how long the receiver has to read the message before it vanishes forever.
There are two features that set Burn Note apart from other disappearing messaging apps. First, users can send messages to people even if they are not signed up with the app. As long as you have someone’s contact information, you can send a Burn Note to that person.
Second, the app will only show the message’s receiver one line of the message at a time, making it difficult to take screen shots of what’s being sent.
Source: Teen Safe
What Other Apps Are Out There?
Unfortunately for parents, Burn Note is not the only app that teens are using to hide their inappropriate behavior. There are dozens of disappearing messaging apps on the market, including Snapchat, Slingshot and Cyberdust.
Although Burn Note only allows users to send text messages, other apps, most notably Snapchat, allow users to send photos and videos. As Facebook and Twitter slowly begin to fade in popularity among this generation, these apps have taken over the world of social media for teens.
How Are Teens Using Burn Note?
Teens are drawn to Burn Note and other disappearing messaging apps because they feel that they can be freer with what they send.
When teens know that the message cannot be saved, they often say things that they wouldn’t on other social platforms. This freedom often leads to inappropriate and dangerous behavior, such as sexting or cyberbullying.
This behavior is even more prominent on the apps that allow the exchange of photos and videos, since this gives teens the opportunity to send secret explicit photos or videos. Teens engage in this behavior through disappearing messaging apps because they feel their actions have no consequences when the evidence cannot be saved.
But, parents have another reason to worry about these apps. Child predators often use disappearing messaging apps to target minors.
Predators are drawn to these types of apps for the same reason that teens are—the allure of being able to send whatever they want without any trace of evidence. Even the FBI has warned parents that apps such as Snapchat and Burn Note make children vulnerable to being targeted by predators.
If you see a disappearing messaging app on your kid’s phone, it should be cause for concern.
There’s no reason to use one of these apps besides having something to hide, so it definitely warrants a conversation with your child about the consequences of their digital behavior. Kids need to understand that nothing is really private, no matter how the app markets itself, and it’s your job as parents to get this message through to them!
I recently came across another therapist who offers an e-course to walk parents through completely safe guarding their technology. There are so many ways we can protect our kids if we just knew how! His wealth of knowledge is super helpful! You can learn more about his course here at iparent 101: Safety in the Digital Age.
About Guest Author:
Freelance writer and parent, Hilary Smith, specializes in covering the world of digital parenting. She has a degree in journalism from Northwestern. This Texas native braves the winters in Chicago with her ever so slightly spoiled, English bulldog, Chauncey and her two children.