How are our kids managing to be online, undercover? - Klikd

How are our kids managing to be online, undercover?

Whisper has the answers!

What is Whisper? 🤫

Whisper is the app where our kids can share their real thoughts, give each other unsolicite opinions, trade advice and get the inside scoop! It is the place where they can vote on who looks best in a bikini, who has the worst nose-job and who should be booted from a whatsapp group. There are no followers, no friends and no profiles. And what’s more, the app relies on our kids using their locations -this allows them to create groups based on areas/schools. So everyone in one school can talk about anyone else but it is all done anonymously! 

But I thought Whisper was old news?

Whisper is an old app that first emerged in 2012 – since then it has been given the boot a few times by Apple but once again it is alive and well on all app stores. Right now, it is a t/ween favourite for all the reasons you would imagine: It is an anonymous social media app that allows users to post and share messages with others without revealing their identities.

That means late at night, our kids are logging on to cast their popularity vote on a “Hot or Not?” A question posted anonymously about a class member, they are scrolling in the eating disorder section of the app to find ways to trick parents into believing they have eaten a full meal and they are sharing images that leave little to the most conservative of imaginations.  

Simply put, Whisper lets users publish “whispers” which is our children’s texts overlaid on images. The images can be either from the user’s own device or chosen from the app’s library. The app categorizes these whispers based on topics, allowing users to browse through themes that interest them, such as personal confessions (think nudes sent to teachers), fears (think suicide threats), self-harm admissions, match-making…the list is as long as the t/ween mind allows

So Why do they use Whisper when they have SnapChat, TikTok and Insta? 📱

The love affair with Whisper is there is the illusion that when you post you are anonymous. Anyone can post content without creating a traditional profile linked to their real name or contact information. Users type their thoughts into a text box, select a background image, and boom, post accepted. These posts are then public on the platform, and other users can respond either publicly or privately through a direct message (yes it is filled with predators looking for anyone looking for connection).

What is the other big attraction?

Whisper uses our kids’ location to curate content, showing posts from nearby users or thematic groups like your school!! This location-based functionality making our kids feel like they belong to some kind of group “all the haters of maths teacher Mrs Simpson” or “all the boys who think Kayleigh is gross”, “all the kids who binged at supper, but vomited straight after”. Need we say more!

What are our concerns at KLIKD?

Because users are not tied to a real identity, t/weens impulsively and often hurtfully share their thoughts and feelings they would otherwise have kept private or told a friend in real life.Whisper gives our children the illusion that expressing yourself on the platform is a safe space for emotional release, whatever shape or form that takes.

Our teens hold out for sense of support and understanding on the platform but often it is a black hole from which our children land up getting rejected and deeply hurt.

A few other worries about Whisper:

1.     The anonymous nature of the app can sometimes lead to the sharing of graphic or harmful content. Although Whisper attempts to moderate such content, the system isn’t foolproof.

2.     Despite the anonymity, Whisper’s use of location data could potentially be used to identify users, which poses privacy risks. It exposes our kids to predators who often know how to validate and affirm our children just enough on an anonymous platform to entice them into a private message inbox. From there it is a slippery slope to extortion.

3.     Regular use of the app can lead to an over-reliance on validation from others, which of course lends itself to affecting our children’s self-esteem.

4.     Frequent exposure to negative content such as cutting and self-harm can influence our children’s way of coping when they are met with challenges.

KLIKD VERDICT

It is a hard no from us at KLIKD. 

So this app offers up digital distraction at best, and hard-core body-shaming, stalking and predator possibilities at worse. Moreover, the type of content discussed—ranging from body shaming to more serious issues like self-harm and eating disorders—is alarming and may have long-lasting impacts on a child’s mental health and self-esteem.

While the app offers a unique platform for anonymous expression, this feature is often the double edge sword that exposes our children to too much hurt.  Aside from the risks to our children’s self-esteem, the anonymity that Whisper provides lends itself to exposure to predators, exposure to inappropriate content and the ongoing wondering of ‘who said that about me?’ 

In any child’s world, this just isn’t manageable! 
Stay connected

Sarah and Pam 

Share this post

You may also like...