Burnbook App Under Fire for Allegedly Exposing Kids to Cyberbullying

The new app, which gets its name from the book in "Mean Girls," has encouraged anonymous bullying, critics claim.
4:16 | 03/05/15

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Transcript for Burnbook App Under Fire for Allegedly Exposing Kids to Cyberbullying
a troubling new way to cyberbully. An app that lets kids post anonymous comments about classmates and shows up in schools all across the country and Ryan smith tells us how some schools are fighting back. This burn book where they write mean things. Reporter: In "Mean girls," the burn book was all the rage. We cut out girls' pictures and then we wrote comments. Reporter: Now it's a cell phone app going viral in schools across the country. It lets students find and click on their school, then post anonymous content about anything or anyone. For this app in particular, the fact that people are anonymous, the majority of the time they have been negative. Reporter: The app's terps of service web page clearly stating users may not use the service to transmit content that is hateful, abusive or otherwise objectionable by burnbook users but the app and similar ones like after school app have Kearns of online threats expo exposing kids to sicyberbullies. 17-year-old tailor experienced this firsthand. Somebody said, Tatum should get cancer like his mother and die. I was very hurt that somebody would say that to me. That just really hit deep. Reporter: And parents crying foul like this father in San Diego who didn't want to be identified. He says his is a privilege, not a right, they say, abuse that privilege and there will be consequences. Some schools now taking action. That is San Diego school district sending a message to middle school and high school families, warning them that charges may result from posting threatening or inappropriate messages adding, threats are not jokes. Some schools are trying to block access to apps like this over school networks but since the users are anonymous, the key here is for parents to talk to their kids. That way if an issue comes up they can try to identify the anonymous tormenter and tell authority. Absolutely. Let's talk about this. Ericka souter is here. Boy, it's easy to see why parents would get upset. More and more parents are being alarmed. We grew up and bullying meant being physically hit. Now it takes on a totally different meaning and one in three kids have been the victim of cyberbullying. Parents hear that and see more and more kids attempt suicide because of cyberbullying and get how dangerous this is. So where does the law stand on this? We've seen the disclaimers. Does that protect them. Tough to stop the apps because the apps themselves are protected in a sense immune from prosecution for the offensive content their users post so while parents may be saying, well, we can't get the apps and website, you can get the bully. Laws are stepping up to say, if you bully online you could be subject to criminal harassment, stalking and some states have gone further passing laws saying to bullies, if you're caught bullying you could be subject from anything from suspension to jail time. Of course, that would require lifting the veil of anonymity. Can you do that in the apps? No, that's going to be tough to do. That's why the parent/kid connection is so important. Getting a sense of who the tormenters should be. What should parents do? You have to question your kids. Make sure, you know, they're not going to be open and honest about bullying at all times so let them know you're there to help them, not judge and don't respond to cyberbullies. Don't respond? Don't respond. That just fuels the fire. A lot of parents, their knee-jerk reaction, go online and launch an attack themselves. Third, monitor your kids. This goes for parents of bullied children but also parents who suspect their kids are bullied. You have to put a stop to the behavior no matter which side you fall on. Okay. Ericka brings up a good point. You don't respond. Tell school authorities and authorities and they can take up the baton and say let's look at this and see if we need to contact police and that's the message. You bully online you could be subject to prosecution. Thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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