Jott Allowing Teens to Message Without Internet

Teens love to send and receive text messages. Lots of text messages. It is estimated that a child between the ages of 13 and 17 will send over 100 text messages in one day. Many teens have no cell phone carrier, and carry iPads, tablets or phones with them so that they can play games, listen to music or browse the web whenever they have connection to Wi-Fi. Internet texting apps such as YikYak cater to this crowd by allowing teens who do not have standard text messaging privileges to send and receive texts using a Wi-Fi connection instead of a cell tower. Parents can be relieved to know that Internet texting apps are mostly rendered useless at schools, since most schools do not provide public Wi-Fi. However, there is a new app for teens which allows them to create their own closed network to send and receive texts without an Internet connection or a cellular plan. The application is known as Jott.

How Jott Works

Jott works by using a smartphone or tablet’s built in Bluetooth and wireless radios to connect directly with other Jott users within 100 feet of each other. This app allows the device to work much like a walkie-talkie, but it allows teens to secretly and securely send texts, photos, videos and other multimedia without worrying about data plans, an Internet connection or overage fees. The app works great for the nearly one-third of teens who do not have a cell phone but have a smart device with no service. Over the past few months, the app has gone viral. The makers of Jott have noticed that entire schools will begin to download the app by the hundreds. There are over 500,000 monthly users of Jott, and the app received over 1 million downloads in just a few months after launching. The success of the app may come as a surprise to adults, but for teens, Jott is an obvious solution to an issue faced by many of them.

Jott is Helpful

Jott was developed by Jared Allgood and Jayson Ahlstrom of Juxta Labs, a prominent app developer with a knack for developing apps teens love. Allgood notes, here’s a group of kids whose primary device is an iPod or iPad. They have no cellular plan, no data plan and most public schools don’t provide Wi-Fi access. Essentially, those are kids who show up to school with a dead device. With his own kids attending middle school, Allgood has a perfect market research team to find out what teens want, and the kids are well suited as a testing group and a marketing platform. Teens who previously found themselves going to school with a dead device are now able to share information and ideas with their peers and share the same social status of other teens who do have a cellular or data plan. Teens can use the app as much as they want, without worrying about racking up a large bill at the end of the month.

Jott Can be Troublesome

Parents and teachers take issue with Jott, as it provides children with the ability to cheat on tests or otherwise be distracted when they are supposed to be paying attention and learning. Out of the estimated 100 or so texts sent by each teen every day, around half of those are sent during school hours. Adults regularly observe teens using cellphones at inappropriate times, and they are concerned that texting may replace personal social skills that older generations developed as they were growing up. Furthermore, Jott allows teens to send self-destructive text messages, images and videos which will disappear without a trace once they are received and opened. This opens the door for dangers such as sexting, harrassment and cyberbullying and also makes the app a target for hackers, as evidenced in the security breach of self-destructing messaging app SnapChat.

What Parents Can Do

Jott is not completely dreadful or only used by teens. Jott can be useful in emergency situations or anywhere that lacks reliable service. Parents are encouraged to do a little research themselves and try the app on their own devices. This will allow them to see the usefulness of the program as well as foresee any downfalls the app may present. Parents should talk with their teens and get an understanding about whether or not the app should be considered appropriate. Monitoring software will give parents details about how their smartphone or tablet is being used, and they can set restrictions to block the use of apps deemed inappropriate or unsuitable for their children to use. By understanding how their teens use their devices, parents can address issues in ways the children understand.

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