Racy App Available Again From Apple
After School “undermines” and “sabotages” efforts to educate students on leaving a good digital footprint, said Pinckney Community Schools Superintendent Rick Todd. The key concern, he said, is that hurtful posts to its message boards could be made anonymously.
The app was unavailable early Thursday from the Apple App Store, prompting initial praise from school officials who had requested that Apple remove it, but it seems that victory was claimed too soon.
App co-creator Cory Levy told Re/code, an independent tech news, reviews and analysis site, that Apple contacted the app creators Monday, requiring they update specific safety features before a Wednesday afternoon deadline. Among the requirements was to change the app’s rating to “17+” and to add a button within the app to allow users to report inappropriate content, according to the Re/code report. The app’s rating was previously set at “12+.”
The app was temporarily removed from the App Store after After School resubmitted the app Tuesday, but approvals weren’t made by the time Apple’s deadline arrived, Levy told Re/code. It reappeared Thursday evening.
Todd called the changes “ridiculous,” given its target audience is high school students, in a districtwide email sent to parents Friday.
Pinckney, Howell Public Schools and Hartland Consolidated Schools blocked the app from school networks. Yet it doesn’t prevent students from downloading its content, which includes sexually explicit videos, through their own cellphone service providers.
Todd said in the email he’s hopeful Apple will permanently remove the app.
“The only factor we can truly control is our own decision making and oversight of our children and their technology usage,” he said.
The free app is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch operating systems of iOS 6.0 or later. It’s described as an “anonymous and private message board for your school,” and it’s accessed through Facebook accounts associated with schools.
It’s prompted an FBI investigation in Flushing, after a student posted “Bringing a Gun to School” on the Flushing High School message board.
By Amanda Whitesell published on livingstondaily.com.