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Is the Brighten app a platform for bullying?

Mia Thillet, Staff Reporter

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PHS student Xingbei Li displays her Brighten app

When the founder and CEO of Brighten, Austin Kevitch, was a college student, he came up with the ingenious idea of creating a box where his classmates could drop notes with compliments in hopes to “brighten” someone’s day. Brighten, an anonymous social media app, has recently come into the spotlight, and hit the high school scene with an epic bang. The new app has come a long way since its humble beginnings of a “compliment box.” Nevertheless, Brighten continues to embody the original spirit of friendliness and positivity that first inspired the app.

In an article on Tech.co, Amanda Quick says, “Kevitch also made the focus less about self-promotion and negativity. He said he created Brighten because a number of anonymous social networks allow harassment and bullying, and he wanted to create an app that would promote a positive culture.” The app allows users to message their friends anonymously as a way to encourage kindness.

In an interview on Raeken Live, Brighten’s head of social media, Alec Lorraine says, “At Brighten, we are using anonymity as a tool to create a positive, appreciative culture.” The theory is that since only accepted friends are able to send comments to each other, only kind messages will filter through the user’s walls.

However, the Brighten app can be used for cyberbullying due to the anonymous feature. Matthew Tatum, a junior, says, “This app can definitely lead to cyberbullying and in many cases that has already happened.”

The app battles offensive comments by reviewing messages before they are sent and “locking” people out of the app if they continually send insulting comments. However, Tatum says, “I don’t think that there is really one or any true way to stop the cyberbullying because of the fact that this type of of bullying can be interpreted in many different ways.”

Although ambiguity might endorse cyberbullying, the Brighten app still creates an easy way to spread decency. Abigail Manley, a sophomore, says she “heard about [Brighten] on Twitter and thought it would be nice to get compliments from people and give other people compliments too.” Similarly, Tatum said he liked that the app allowed him to “compliment some people that really just need and deserve to be complimented.”

Manley says that she has received all kind brightens. Unfortunately, she has “seen other people be bullied and teased about rumors.” She even goes as far as stating that she “wouldn’t recommend [Brighten] because although some people receive positive comments, there is a lot of drama caused by the app and it could really hurt someone’s feelings.”

Despite the chance of bullying, the app still condones and encourages users to only send compliments. According to the Brighten website, the definition of the app is, “an anonymous post intended to make someone’s day.”

Also on the Brighten app website, Kevich writes, “It brightened someone’s day each time they received an anonymous note [from his ‘compliment box’], and this app is a way to extend that feeling to as many people as possible.”

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Is the Brighten app a platform for bullying?