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‘tbh’ app hopes to promote positivity through anonymous polls

Mia Hawkins, Staff reporter

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Screenshot from iTunes app store | COURTESY TBH

Who is “beautiful from every angle”? Who “could spend a whole class together and never get bored”? Who “never ceases to amaze me”? These are some of the questions that users of the “tbh” app could answer about their classmates and friends.

On tbh, students can review other students. tbh, short for “to be honest,” is a social media app directed at students that is centered around creating positivity.

Released in August, the app was ranked high on Apple’s App Store’s free downloads chart for several weeks. According to statistics on the app, about 1,100 Mater Dei students – which is about 50 percent of the student population – have accounts on tbh.

“TBH was founded with the philosophy of spreading positive energy – especially to the youth,” tbh’s Head of Community Michael Gutierrez said. “We aim to empower our users to feel more confident about themselves.”

Sophomore Nadia Gastmeyer, a frequent user of the app, said she believes the app can have a positive effect on its users.

“The tbh app has given me confidence about myself and allows me to find out what people think about me,” Gastmeyer said.

Sophomore Matthew Real, however, disagrees with its impact.

“tbh didn’t affect me too much, but I did have a lot of fun laughing with my friends,” said Real, who stated he only downloaded the app because his friend told him to.

When a user logs into tbh, they are given the option to anonymously participate in a poll about a student who is currently a “friend” on the app. Users can find friends by username or by high school. Under the “play” tab, a prompt will appear with four friends’ names. For example, the prompt could ask the user to select out of the four potential candidates “Who has the cutest hiccups?” or “Who could make money by traveling the world?” When the user selects a student that they think best fits the statement provided, the student is notified that they were selected by another user for the prompt.

tbh users also have the option to create their own poll prompts or questions. All questions and prompts on the app are filtered by the creators so that only uplifting statements are included in polls.

“We manually review every poll,” Gutierrez said. “We feel positivity is very important in today’s society.”

Freshman Imani Brutlag said the app made her happy when she would log on because of all the positive comments.

Screenshot from iTunes app store | COURTESY TBH

For the app creators, the idea is that social media should lift individuals up, not tear them down.

Guidance Counselor Sasha Lo believes social media can have a positive effect on society. She believes that when apps notify users that they have been mentioned by other users, it can contribute to boost the users’ self esteem.

“I have seen other things like this, like anonymous Facebook pages at other high schools, where all the posts are curated and meant to be only positive,” Lo said. “I think it can be a great thing for students to feel encouraged… The counselors here, we really want to build a positive school climate. So whether that’s online or in person, you know we want students feeling like they belong here at Mater Dei and that they are encouraged by each other.”


Read Visual Editor Eisel Pazon’s opinion about the tbh app here.

 

 

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The Student Newspaper at Mater Dei High School
‘tbh’ app hopes to promote positivity through anonymous polls