“Parents need to … beware of what their children are doing that means checking their Facebook, checking their phone, checking their texts. It’s too late to find out when your child has made an anonymous threat that could subject them to a lengthy sentence,” Juvenile Judge Edmond Naman
Yik Yak is the latest in a long line of apps that are popular with teens and that some teens are misusing.
Here are a few things parents should know about Yik Yak:
- The app was created by two students from Furman University.
- The creators of the app encourage users to talk about (post) “anything and everything.”
- Yik Yak has been around for 5 months.
- The app already has 240,000 active users according to USA Today.
- Yik Yak states that it is for people 17 and older. Of course, kids younger than 17 are using it.
- You can post whatever you want to say and remain anonymous.
- Students use the app to cyberbully other kids, spread rumors and lies and to threaten violence. Threats of school violence spread via Yik Yak last week in high schools in Mobile, Alabama and Marblehead, Massachusetts.
- You can frequently find nudity and drug and alcohol references using the app.
- The principal of Webb Bridge Middle School in Fulton County Georgia sent home a letter warning parents about the app and the potential trouble kids could get into.
If you go to the iTunes App Store, you will see a description of the app that says, “WHAT HAPPENS ON YIK YAK STAYS ON YIK YAK.” That statement may be misleading to some of the younger users. They may think they can do and say whatever they want and it will remain completely private. Of course you can’t control what happens to your content once it is posted.
Recently San Clemente High School in Orange County California received a fake bomb threat that was instigated using Yik Yak. The school’s 3,000 students were on lockdown for four hours.
Parents: know what’s going on. Talk to your children about what is and what is not appropriate online behavior. Their actions can have very serious consequences. It’s not all just fun and games.
John L. Jones