Burnbook App: Another avenue for cyberbullying? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Burnbook App: Another avenue for cyberbullying?

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A smartphone app begins to create controversy and concern among parents, educators and kids.

The Burnbook App is an anonymous messaging app allowing people to create and view posts with those in their community. The app, however, has already given way to cyberbullying in some parts of the country.

The app uses a mobile phone's IP address to locate the device, then prompts the user with several schools in the area to 'choose' his or her community.

Mindy Fisher, a learning support specialist with Waterloo Schools, says it's the anonymity that's concerning.

"What you open that up to is kids are willing to say things that they would never say otherwise. And that can be anything from racial slurs to just outright lies, to just being really mean to each other."

The app and the idea of anonymous messages don't sit well with parents either. Fisher says while school districts are constantly battling, and working to prevent, cyberbullying, they can't tackle the problem alone. Fisher says parents must take some responsibility, and stay involved in their kids' lives.

"Me and my wife are always on their phones, checking what's going in, what's going out," Ryan Knight said, a dad living in the Cedar Valley.

Other parents say they also check their kids' devices regularly, as well as their social media sites.

Fisher says Waterloo Schools works closely with the police department to deal with bullying issues, and also creates student anti-bullying groups.

Burnbook's terms of service says a user is not allowed to bully, harass or threaten anyone on the app. All the while, some argue its name is misleading. KWWL reached out to Burnbook's parent company regarding bullying on the app, and has not yet received a response.

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