Tech

Yik Yak Chat App: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Yik Yak, is a new social community that lets college students connect through anonymous, location-based posts. While Yik Yak was made for college students, younger users can still sign up. The app is causing problems in middle schools and high schools across the United States because students are using the chat app to post bullying threats and bomb threats. Here are five fast facts you need to know about Yik Yak chat app.

1. Yik Yak is a Chat App That Lets You Share Thoughts Anonymously

Yik Yak, is a new social community that lets college students connect through anonymous, location-based posts. Yik Yak uses your phone’s GPS, so you can send and receive yaks from users within a 5 mile radius. Yik Yaks are limited to 200 characters, and you can’t post pictures. Similar to Reddit, you can Upvote and downvote posts. You can search All-Time Greatest Yaks, Top Yaks in My Area, My Top Yaks, and Other Top Yaks. Yik Yak offers in-app purchases ranging from $0.99-$4.99 so you can send Yik Yaks to 1,000-10,000 recipients.


2. Yik Yak Has More Than 100,000 Users

Yik Yak was launched by Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, two students at Furman University. The app currently has more than 100,000 users. The app is being used by students at University of Georgia, Ole Miss, Clemson, University of Virginia and Wake Forest. Buffington is looking to reach schools on the East Coast.


3. Bomb Threats Have Been Posted on Yik Yak, Causing Concerns for Parents

While Yik Yak was made for college students, younger users can still sign up. The app is causing problems in middle schools and high schools across the United States. Yik Yak is causing concerns for parents, as the app has been linked to cyberbullying and bomb threats. San Clemente High School was placed on lockdown on March 6th, 2014, as a bomb threat was posted on Yik Yak.


4. Yik Yak Has Been Disabled by Lake Forest High School in Chicago

Lake Forest High School in Chicago banned Yik Yak as the app is being used to bully students and school staff. Principal Barry Rodgers sent out an email to parents saying the school has banned Yik Yak on its network. MyFoxChicago posted a letter from Principal Barry Rodgers in regards to banning the app:

Dear Parents:
I am writing to inform you of a mobile app that is harmful to students and to the positive school culture of Lake Forest High School. I am also writing to ask your support in addressing this serious issue. One of the hallmarks of Lake Forest High School is our supportive environment and our commitment to the well-being of one another. Collectively, we have an opportunity and responsibility to ensure to maintain our positive school climate.
The app is called Yik Yak. It allows individuals to send text messages anonymously. These messages are received by all of the anonymous users in a given location, such as our school. Sadly, we have found that this app is allowing students to verbally abuse each other as well as faculty and staff at LFHS.
Posts can be especially vicious and hurtful since there is no way to trace their source and it can be disseminated widely.

At the school level, we have blocked access to the app on our network. Nonetheless, students can still access the app through their cellular network.

As a school policy, we are prohibiting Yik Yak and will continue to enforce our current technology code of conduct.
We are working with our legal counsel and the local authorities to see what recourse we have against individuals who have posted items that are harmful to individuals and disruptive to our school setting.

Accessing the app on their phone, despite not making comments, is creating an audience for bullying behavior.
Student services (deans, social workers, school psychologists and counselors) are available for support and guidance.

A significant way that we can deal with the app is to promote digital citizenship at home and at school. This is a learning opportunity for students on how their behavior and the choices that they make can impact others and their own future in a digital world. Our faculty and Student Council will be addressing this issue at school. We ask that you have a meaningful conversation with your son/daughter. We also recommend deleting the Yik Yak app and reviewing the apps on your child’s phone. Together, we can continue to make Lake Forest High School a safe place for students to live and learn.

Sincerely,
Barry Rodgers
Principal

5. Yik Yak Founders Are Trying to Prevent App Abuse

In an interview with TechCrunch, Buffington said, “We’re working on trying to find technical solutions to prevent app abuse by high schoolers, the blocks that we currently have in place aren’t working as well as we’d like them to,” said Buffington. “One thing that we have seen on the college front is that the longer a community is around the more mature and constructive it becomes. So we think that lends to some promise for the anonymous or semi-anonymous app realm.”

Yik Yak app is available for iPhone and Android.

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