The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

Saturn poses privacy concerns for students

Christiana Vucea
Saturn can be used to help students connect with their classmates and organize their schedules. However, there are some privacy concerns being raised due to its ability to connect to other social media accounts.

Since the start of the new school year, concerns over the Saturn App have skyrocketed. Saturn is a social media and scheduling app built to support the management of high school classes.

Many students decided to make an account in order to manage the complexities of a new school year.

“I got Saturn a week before school started this year,” freshman Rafaella Castro said.

On Saturn, students are able to find their school, link their schedule, and allow individuals to track classes, assignments and group projects. The app works on a school-by-school basis, ensuring students only interact with those attending the same school. It has collaborated with over 17,000 schools, including Richard Montgomery.

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Saturn was originally launched in 2018, with the intent of connecting students with other classmates. Many students at Richard Montgomery are fond of Saturn. 

“I was able to know when classes end and who are in my classes. It helped me know my schedule way better,” sophomore Naina Rawat said.

When compared to StudentVUE, an online grade book program directly collaborating with MCPS, Saturn is overwhelmingly the popular option among students.

 “I like Saturn more because it gives an actual countdown of how long classes are and updates with schedule changes. Plus you can see who is in your classes; you can’t do that on StudentVUE,” Castro said.

These concerns make me want to delete it. Now they know my entire schedule, [and] they can follow you around school.

— Naina Rawat

As the school season continues, many parents, schools and cyber experts are now raising concerns about the increased student-use of this app. Top concerns include the possibility that students may use the messaging feature to cyberbully or harass other students.

As well as the fact that personal information is made public with the use and creation of an account. Saturn encourages students to connect their Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram and Venmo accounts to their Saturn profiles. This allows for predators to impersonate students gaining access to students’ location, schedule and personal details. 

Individuals are able to see students’ schedule, location and who their friends are. They are also able to chat directly with other users since Saturn grants access simply by putting in a familiar email or domain to become verified.

“These concerns make me want to delete it. Now they know my entire schedule, [and] they can follow you around school,” Rawat said. 

In August, Saturn acknowledged these concerns emphasized by the media, and began increasing security. Saturn strengthened the verification process, ensuring individuals are not able to access student profiles, schedules or direct-messaging without verification. They have also begun flagging and blocking suspicious phone numbers. 

Saturn can be useful to track homework and extracurriculars; however, these features can be achieved through a regular calendar that does not include the social aspects of Saturn. Thus, RM students have mixed opinions about this app. “I don’t think it is that useful that I’ll still need to use it. I feel the cons outweigh the pros because the app is not that great,” Castro said. 

Saturn is continuing to update the app and add more safety features, such as more privacy features, removing and flagging non-student users and ensuring school email verification. 

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About the Contributors
Isabel Skinner, News Writer
Freshmen Isabel Skinner is excited for her first year writing for the Tide. She is writing for the Tide’s news section for the first time. Besides writing, Isabel enjoys reading and spending time with friends and family.
Christiana Vucea, Graphics Editor
Christiana Vucea is a senior and an editor for the graphics section this year! She has been doing graphics since freshman year and is excited for new features coming to the Tide this year. When she’s not doodling something, she can be found either sleeping or stressing over physics homework.