Jott Messenger: Made for Middle Schoolers

What It Is:

Jott is a messenger app that has become very popular among a younger audience, mainly middle schoolers. It’s available without a data plan or internet connection, so this messenger app lets the user send messages both online and offline. So, why is it so popular? Because Jott offers texting functions to a younger crowd, those that may not yet have a cellphone.

According to Jott.com, the messenger uses a technology known as AirChat to connect users to one another. The website defines this is an “offline mesh network” that uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to allow users to send messages to other users. Without an internet connection, users must be within 100 feet of each other to send and receive messages. And, the major draw for young users is that no cellphone or data plan is required.

Another feature that caught the attention of the younger crowd is the ability to use Jott at school. Jott.com encourages users to try out the messenger at school or on the way to a school function. Users are also grouped by closed school networks and can find others within that network or by name. Many similar apps are banned from use in a school environment, blocking use of these messengers by geofencing, which prohibits their use near a school.

What Parents Need To Know:

Jott is used primarily by pre-teens and teens, who compromise almost 100% of its users, and it’s not hard to see why. According to a CNN article, “The app’s creators, Juxta Labs, interviewed 350 junior high and high school students and found that teens send 50% of their text messages during school hours – but many are getting left out of the conversation because they don’t have cell phones.” Jott connects friends from school, work, and Instagram.
In terms of privacy, the app requires users to provide their real names, birth dates, phone numbers or emails and location to gain access to a school network, which is unlike YikYak, a similar messaging app which allows anonymous usage. Jott uses social media must-haves that kids love, including stickers, screenshot detection (of conversations), the ability to send photos, and it even borrows functionality similar to Snapchat, by allowing kids to select a “timer” (destruct) option after photos or chats are viewed.

PROJECT B3 TIPS & SUGGESTIONS:

  • To join a school network, another kid has to verify that the new user actually attends the school.
  • There is an age gate, but actual age isn’t verified, and user content isn’t monitored.
  • The terms of service ban bullying, violence, and nudity; state that users must be 13; and state that users 13–17 are agreeing they’ve read the terms and privacy policy with parents before signing up.
  • This app basically encourages texting in school; if this is concern for your and your student at home, steer clear of this app.
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