Teenagers in particular attach great importance to the opinions of their peers. This probably explains the popularity of an app like Tellonym. But in addition to appreciative and nice comments, their users can be anonymously insulted and insulted by others. If your child uses this app, you should be aware of its use and associated risks, such as cyberbullying.
“Tellonym is the most honest place on the Internet. Find out what your friends of you, answer anonymous questions, and ask others things you never dared to ask before! never dared before!”
This is the slogan with which the app Tellonym advertises for new users in the app stores. Tellonym is where you get anonymous feedback and ratings from friends and strangers. The app is especially attractive for teenagers.
Registration is done via your own phone number or e-mail address, whereupon you receive a link to forward to friends and acquaintances. They could then leave a comment on their own profile – even anonymously – without having to register separately. For the time being, comments are only visible to the person who receives them. If the user replies, the comment appears publicly in the user’s profile. In addition to positive comments such as compliments, there are also negative, so-called “tells” in which users insult or sexually harass other users.
To easily see what’s happening on other Tellonymer’s profiles, you can follow other users. This can also be done anonymously by clicking the “anonymous” button again within three seconds after clicking “Follow”. The follower count visibly adjusts anyway. There is also the option to connect your account with Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat, or to sync your account with your phone contacts. However, this is a major invasion of privacy, which is why we do not recommend activating this function for data protection reasons.
The age recommendation of the app varies depending on the provider (USK: 12 years, iTunes Play Store: 17+ years). According to the terms and conditions at Tellonym itself, if you are a minor, you need parental permission to register and must be at least 13 years old. However, if you register with the app, you only have to choose between “I am 16 or older” or “I am younger than 16”. If you indicate that you are under 16, parental consent is requested but not verified. As a parent, you can best assess whether your child is already comfortable with the app and its risks.
Most concerning is the risk of cyberbullying via the app. Since it is possible to write tells anonymously, i.e. under the protection of not being recognized, the inhibition threshold for some users to attack, insult or harass others with sexual comments is lowered.
Tellonym providers are aware of the problem of cyberbullying and provide parents with tips on how to protect themselves from attacks on their website. Thus, the reception of completely anonymous messages from non-registered users can be disabled. Certain words as well as senders of certain messages can be blocked. However, this is not 100% possible if the sender or senderess is not registered with Tellonym. Therefore, it is recommended to completely disable receiving anonymous messages from non-registered users. Messages can also be reported if they violate Tellomym ‘s TOS. According to its own statement, reported posts are checked and deleted if necessary.
In general, every message sent is supposed to pass through a filter – but how exactly this works remains unclear. Tellonym points out the difficulty of a good balance between censorship and protection.
Your child wants to use the app or is already an enthusiastic Tellonymer? Listen to him about the reasons he wants to use the app and whether he is aware of the possible risks. Especially if your child is younger than 16, you should get to know the app together with, look at the security settings and adjust them. You can find good and pictorial instructions on this at Klicksafe.
Talk to your child about what to do if he or she encounters cyberbullying or similar and receives unpleasant or abusive messages.