New Social Media App Yik Yak Strikes Campus

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New Social Media App Yik Yak Strikes Campus

By Caroline Frost

Yik Yak, a new social media app that came out in December 2013, has recently become popular nationwide and among Tam students. The app works as an “anonymous bulletin board,” where users can post anonymous messages of their choice.

Since the app first gained popularity, students and parents have aired concerns about whether or not this new app will generate cyber-bullying.

Yik Yak asks permission to use your location so that it knows where you are in relation to other “yakkers.” The app has several rules that users are required to follow: users are not allowed to bully other users or post phone numbers; users are not allowed to post offensive words or statements while using the app, and if an account is reported too many times, it will be suspended. The app also requires users to be 17 years old or older.

Senior Bella Amyx recently made the decision to delete Yik Yak after losing interest in the negative messages posted by the app’s users. “I had the app for about a week to see what everyone was talking about but I deleted it,” Amyx said. “I realized that people just used the app to bash on other people.”

Senior Hadley Clark has also only seen the negative sides of the app. “People can use the app to say horrible things about [each other]…its degrading,” Clark said.

Assistant Principal Wendy Stratton felt that Yik Yak presents a challenge to those attempting to combat cyberbullying, and that the app exhibits many of the negative traits of modern social media. “This particular form of social media has tremendous potential to do harm, and has done harm on our campus based on its anonymous nature,” Stratton said. “We’ve dealt with many students who have been cyberbullied…our students here really need to think about how Yik Yak reflects on our culture, and the way that we choose to interact when we’re anonymous and how that reflects back on us.”

High school students have become increasingly interested in it, despite the app’s “adults only” designation. Students use the app to gossip about their fellow classmates or post about their daily lives. However, Yik Yak does not allow users to open and use the app while within close proximity of any school campuses. When a user attempts to open the app close to a school, a message appears stating that the app is intended for adult use only.