Parents are being warned about a new app that allows high school students to post comments, pictures and videos anonymously. 

IMG_0611Source: Ogle

Some high school administrators in Orange County are warning parents about Ogle, a smartphone app that allows students to post comments, pictures and videos anonymously.  Over 40 OC high schools are listed on Ogle’s roster, including Foothill High School in Santa Ana, Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach and El Modena High School in Orange.

Administrators are voicing their concerns about content that’s being shared on the app. Some of the posts are racist, depict bullying and contain pornograhic images of children.

12004882_1024700764226895_9018609386893778592_nSource: Ogle

Nick Stephany, principal of Foothill High School, sent an email Friday morning informing parents about the app.

“There is no practical use [for] this app. There are only negative consequences to its use for students, families, and the school,” said Stephany. “This is a home and family issue that is spilling over to the school.  The app cannot be accessed through the students’ laptop computers, only through smartphones.  We need parents’ help in preventing the use of Ogle.”

The Santa Ana Unified School District’s Police Department has also received multiple reports of the app being used for “sexting,” cyber-bullying and threats.

Ogle, which launched in August 2015, is a part of a new wave of smartphone apps that allow users to send anonymous messages within their community. Yik Yak, a similar app that creates localized, anonymous bulletin boards, has also drawn controversy as it has been used to issue threats of mass violence to more than a dozen college campuses across the country.

Earlier this month, a student allegedly made a post using the Ogle app threatening “gun violence” to high schools in the Santa Cruz area.

“Everyone’s been talking about it. It’s crazy. There’s a lot of hatred that’s being spread on the app and I think it’s only been live for a day,” said Luis Nicasio, a senior at Foothill High School.

In the case of Foothill High School, administrators are reporting inappropriate posts to the app’s developers and have removed over 200 posts. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is also helping  the school investigate posts.

Yik Yak does let users share anonymous photos, but does not allow faces or “illegal content” to be displayed in feeds.

Although the content is geared towards students, anyone can download, view and submit to Ogle, raising concerns about child pornography that is allegedly being distributed on the app.

“Sexting” carries big penalties for students. Under California law, individuals who distribute, possess or produce a sexually explicit image of a minor can be charged under the State’s child pornography statutes. This means that a teenager who takes a naked picture of themselves and sends it to another teen has technically committed three felony crimes and will most likely need to register as a sex offender.

OC Native has reached out to Ogle for comment, but has yet to hear back.

What do you think about anonymous apps, like Yik Yak and Ogle?

Originally posted 2016-03-18 20:31:25.

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