Similar to the Sarahah app, the Tellonym app allows students (and strangers) to ask and answer questions anonymously. The Tellonym app can be linked to a user’s Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter account, allowing students to get inbound anonymous messages from their friends and strangers. When teens connect anonymous apps to their Instagram or Snapchat they open themselves up to being targeted by strangers across platforms (and bullying/threats from people they may not know).
This app is in the Smart Social RED ZONE and is not safe for your student to use.
What is the Tellonym app?
- The Tellonym app allows students (and strangers) to ask and answer questions anonymously
- When users sign up they get a link they share with friends
- Friends can ask questions (called “Tells”) using that link. Only the user being asked can see the questions
- Many students put their link in their Instagram bio or Snapchat snaps
- If the user chooses to answer a question, their answer and the original question are then posted to their public profile
- Every profile is public by default
- Profiles include a profile picture, a name, a custom status, and answered questions
- According to the app “All information publicly visible on a profile was provided by the account owner and can be removed from the public eye.”
- Tellonym allows users to follow others and see their answers
- The search feature allows users to look for others based on their age, gender, and location
- Users can ask questions anonymously or users can choose to add their name
- Users can block other users without the app notifying the follower
- Users can report questions without revealing to the other user that they are being reported
- The Tellonym app can be linked to a user’s Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter account, meaning inappropriate messages can include inappropriate images
- Users can filter content based on specific keywords
What students say about the Tellonym app:
DELETE THE APP NOW!!
This app is not good at all! Being able to be anonymous while posting things on here resulted into something that was probably not meant for this app! But it is one way for people to send threats. And this is happening to my school right now. Someone sent a message to a student at my school and said that they are going to shoot up our school, and kill everyone and anyone. This is no joke! This app should be deleted! This gives people a way to threat someone without being found. Now we may never know who this person is threatening our school. And we won’t know if we are safe until someone can get to the bottom of who is in charge of the threats! DO NOT USE THIS APP. They need to delete it ASAP!
Source: iTunes App Store
The Tellonym app in the news:
Schools have issued a warning to parents about a new app sweeping [the area] that they claim is fueling cyberbullying among children. Tellonym – available for free on Apple and Google Play – is the latest in a series of anonymous messaging apps to have become wildly popular in a matter of months.–Manchester Evening News
Tellonym claims its simple text-based approach and in-house monitoring reduce the possibility of cyberbullying, the app’s ability to link to more diverse social media apps like Snapchat and Twitter more or less cancel out that claim. With two million registered users and the promise of anonymity, Tellonym is an obvious temptation for shy kids and teens; unfortunately, the app’s potential for encouraging meanness and clique-ishness make it the last kind of app kids should use.–Common Sense Media
What parents say about the Tellonym app:
My daughter has this app and it is nothing but a platform for bullying. I wish that I could give zero stars. Also wish I could post a screenshot of the threatening messages my daughter received.
If I could give it zero stars I would
It’s a platform for bullies, cowards and trolls. Being anonymous lends itself to the cruelest of worlds with no consequences. If your kid has the app, it’s in your best interest to check it daily or delete it!!!!
Source: Common Sense Media
Why should parents care?
- Students tend to behave poorly if they feel like they can hide behind an anonymous app
- Everyone on the app is anonymous – which means this app is dangerous and strangers may contact your child
- The Tellonym app is a breeding ground for cyberbullying behavior
- Users can receive sexually explicit messages and insults
- There are reports of law enforcement getting involved due to threats made on the app by students
- This app has already had so many complaints that they created Law Enforcement and Parental Advisory Guides that are available on their website
- When teens connect anonymous apps to their Instagram or Snapchat they open themselves up to being targeted by strangers across platforms
What can parents do?
- If your student has the Tellonym app, ask them to delete it immediately and have a discussion about the dangers of the app
- When you’re ready for your student to be public on social media, consider setting up a profile on one of the apps in our Green Zone
- Remind your children to always keep their posts Light, Bright & Polite™ — even if they’re intended to remain private
- Model positive social media behavior. Your kids will be less inclined to use social media negatively if they have a positive role model to observe
- Use the same apps as your children. This will make it easier to monitor who they’re talking to, if they are staying safe, and if they’re using apps like Tellonym
- Consider changing the security settings on your child’s phone so it doesn’t allow them to download new apps without your permission
The Tellonym is in our Red Zone because everyone on the app is anonymous – which means this app is dangerous and strangers may contact your child. Also, students tend to behave poorly if they feel like they can hide behind an anonymous app. If your student has the Tellonym app, ask them to delete it immediately and have a discussion about the dangers of the app.
How do you keep your kids safe on anonymous apps? Let us know in the comments below!