At Daniel Hand High School in Madison, a new smartphone app called “Streetchat" is causing concern among some parents and administrators.
“There were allegations that there were images of students that were shared back and forth between other students, but nothing was confirmed,” said Madison School Superintendent Thomas Scarice.
The images are allegedly nude photos of female students. The posts are supposed to be anonymous, but school officials say there are some names associated with the photos. The school district has already notified the parents of those students.
“We feel obligated to inform parents that if your child's name is being used in this type of way, we have an obligation to inform every mother and father and guardian to protect their child,” said Scarice.
On the "Streetchat" app site, it says the app can only be downloaded by people ages 17 and older, and it comes with warnings about profanity and mature and suggestive themes.
However, officials don't think the students recognize how dangerous it can be.
“I think kids don't really understand the repercussions of where this can go," said Madison Police Officer Joseph Race. "Once things get out into the World Wide Web, they can almost go anywhere. And with this Streetchat app, you're never really going to know who you're talking to.”
School officials are also having a hard time blocking the app and others like it.
“Right now, we're faced with the challenge that these apps come out on a regular basis, almost weekly, and to try to stay out in front of them is a real challenge,” said Scarice.
“It's really frightening to parents because they can say whatever they want about each other and not be held responsible,” said Mia Corvino, who has a daughter at Daniel Hand High School.
School officials are continuously educating parents and children about the dangers of misusing apps and the Internet. This is not a problem isolated to Madison. It's popping up in other towns across the United States.