New 'Image Up' App pause for thought
A new app created by a team from the Telethon Kids Institute and UWA is promising to be ‘the little voice inside their heads’ young people often need before posting pictures to social media.
Digital Health Officer Rebecca Nguyen says teenagers in particular are at risk of making poor decisions about information they access and share online, including potentially inappropriate or provocative images which can cause issues for years.
She says while the Image Up app can post images on up to three social media sites at a time, it pauses the sending of an image for at least 10 seconds first, a small amount of time it’s hoped will play a big role in a young person’s decision making process.
During the pause a video message is played through the mobile device that is a mix of animated and illustrated messages asking the user to think about the consequences of what they are about to post.
“The videos were created by third-year design students at ECU Mt Lawley based on evidence collected from over 70 young people aged between 13-15 years of age and so they’re something younger people can really relate to," Rebecca says.
“The app also lets you track your ‘likes’, see comments and delete them if you’re not happy. There is an additional Image Up feature that provides the user with alternative responses for what to do if you get an unwelcome request called Send This Instead.”
Rebecca says the new app is aimed at Year 8 students and followed consultation with Year 9 and 10 students in schools across WA as part of the 2014-2016 Cyber Savvy Project.
Led by UWA’s Professor Donna Cross from Telethon Kids Institute and The University of Western Australia, the project was funded by Healthway and the Telethon New Children’s Hospital Research Fund and the WA Department of Education.
“Some young people who are cyber bullied are too scared to tell their parents or teachers because they’re worried they might lose their Internet access or their mobile device," Rebecca says.
"We also found evidence that sexting is increasing and beginning at a younger age with a quarter of teenagers believed to have sent nude or semi-nude images or videos of themselves.
“We hope our app will help young people to think more deeply about what they post online by enabling them to take an all important pause before posting images.”
The project also saw the launch of a Cyber Savvy website with information for schools and teachers, families and students.
For more information about Image Up or the Cyber Savvy Project contact Rebecca Nguyen at telethonkids.org.au/contact-us/our-people/n/rebecca-nguyen/
* The ImageUp app posts to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play and the Cyber Savvy website is at cybersavvy.com.au
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