What is the Burn Book App? Parent & Teacher Guide

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What is the Burn Book App? Parent & Teacher Guide

March 24, 2015
Green Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
We believe this app is a STARTING POINT for your student, but that you must monitor your student on every app they are on. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Gray Zone

Parents and Teachers: Please note this app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe.
Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Red Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone. We believe this app is not safe for students to use without adult supervision. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Dangerous Social media challenges

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge. Knowing about social media challenges before your teen does can help you keep them safe before an incident occurs. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Table of Contents

Note: Burn Book is no longer available for download on the Apple App store or Google Play.

Burn book is the newest of the anonymous teen apps that cases problems on school campuses.
Just in the last couple months, the BurnBook App has gained hundreds of thousands of users, and is very much hated by parents and teachers. It also caught a lot of attention from police and law enforcement.

We created this  for parents and teachers to help them understand what the BurnBook app is and how they can keep their students safe from this app.

What is the BurnBook app?

BurnBook logo

BurnBook is an anonymous app for posting text, photos and audio rumor messages about others. Here is what the company says in its marketing:

  • “Always be in the know.” - Which means to kids: “trust what others share.”
  • “Voice your thoughts. Keep your privacy.” - Which means: "You’re not responsible for what you say."
  • “Count the screenshots.” - Which means: "Count how many times people capture your rumor and save it to their phone."

How does BurnBook work?

  • The app groups messages by school and/or college campuses.
  • It requires access to your location so it can find all schools nearby.

BurnBook app has an age restriction 18+. However, no one monitors or restricts access for younger kids

BurnBook App age restriction

  • All users must be 18 years or older to use this service.
  • However, no one monitors or restricted access for younger kids.
  • Elementary school students can easily get access to this app (and their schools are already listed).

Phone number verification

The app doesn't require users to create an account or reveal any personal information in order to browse posts. However, to be able to post news you have to go through phone number verification.

BurnBook rules for posting

Before you are able to use the app or post your news the BurnBook app asks you to read and accept the next rules:

  1. You are responsible for the content you upload.
  2. No nudity or violence.
  3. Don’t harass other people.
  4. If you break the rules, your account will be removed and you might be held legally accountable.

The BurnBook app is easy to use

When reading a post you can:

  • Like the post
  • Comment
  • Take a screenshot
  • Vote the post “up” or “down”
  • Report the content

BurnBook perhaps got it’s app name from a pink diary in the 2004 movie titled “Mean Girls.” In the movie, characters use the book to write mean comments and rumors about schoolmates, teachers and others.

BurnBook has cyberbullying issues

This app encourages students to use real names when they share rumors and drama about students at the school. Also, it encourages students to take screenshots of rumors and save them to their phone. This causes bullying issues.

Threats posted on BurnBook caused at least six schools to close in March 2015

BurnBook causes problems for schools around the country

Threats posted on BurnBook caused at least six schools to close in the last 23 days (March 2015):

  • Torrance, CA - threats to commit shootings, 14-year-old girl was arrested (DailyBreeze)
  • Lawndale, CA - shooting threats, 16 years old student was arrested (DailyBreeze)
  • Oceanside, CA - 14 years old student was arrested (KPBS)
  • San Marcos, CA -  14 years old student was arrested (KPBS)
  • Princeton, NJ - mass shooting threat, a teen is arrested (Las Vegas Review Journal)
  • Lebanon, OR (Koin6)

Explain to your kids that if you threaten someone else (even anonymously) you will get caught by the police

What can teachers and parents do to keep students safe?

  1. We recommend you have your kids delete this app
  2. If your kids have this app - have a conversation with them immediately
  3. Discuss bullying issues. Tell your kids that they can always come to you if they have a problem or a concern
  4. Explain that anonymous posts end up public
  5. If you threaten someone else you will get caught by the police

Law Enforcement


Only law enforcement may request user account information. Law enforcement officers can submit an emergency request as an email attachment to contact@burnbookapp.com. Emergency requests must be submitted on law enforcement letterhead, and must include the following:

  • a detailed description of the emergency;
  • a description of the harm to be prevented;
  • a detailed description of the Burnbook post that you are seeking information about, including screenshots, if available;
  • the specific information requested, including an explanation of why that information is necessary to    prevent the harm;
  • an explanation of why the information is needed without waiting for legal process;
  • and the signature of the submitting law enforcement officer.

Please note that Blushhh, LLC cannot review or respond to emergency requests sent by non-law enforcement officials. If you are aware of an emergency situation, you should immediately contact your local law enforcement officials.

BurnBook in the news

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