Note: Yik Yak has been discontinued in April of 2017, but we leave this app guide here to teach parents/educators what it does. We believe another app will return with similar features, under a new name (and with a new revenue model).
We created a Yik Yak App parent guide to help people understand this new and popular app that kids are using.
What is Yik Yak App?
Yik Yak acts like a local bulletin board for your area by showing the most recent posts from other users around you. It allows anyone to connect and share information with others without having to know them. – Yik Yak webpage
Some students have compared it to a virtual bathroom wall where users post vitriol and hate. – CNN
Psychologically, Yik Yak actually removes all pretense of being a person with empathy, genuinely connected to other human beings.
So it is no wonder that Yik Yak has become the ultimate tool for bullies, especially at the high school level, who want to target another student or a faculty member and — without any consequences, whatsoever — anonymously destroy that person’s reputation. – Fox News
Age restriction: 17+.
Although the app is meant for users age 17 and older, younger users can still sign up, and that’s where the issues have sprouted. – CNN
Yik Yak is extremely popular within teens.
The app is becoming extremely popular with high schoolers who have heard about it from their friends at other high schools who have heard about it from their friends in other high schools. It’s a severe case of word-of-mouth.
Think of the app like a drug. They haven’t heard good things about the app but they want to take a risk and see what happens if they download and use it. – Business Insider
How do kids use the Yik Yak app?
In May 2014, a private high school in Massachusetts experienced a 24-hour onslaught of ugly rumors and comments about students and administrators. School officials had to plead with the students to stop using their smartphones to ravage the self-esteem of others.
A public high school in Massachusetts was evacuated twice in one week after anonymous threats were made via Yik Yak.
Schools in Chicago, Connecticut and California have reported serious disruptions, too, including shooting threats. – Fox News
School administrators in Chicago said teens in some of their schools have used the free app for cyberbullying. Others have made anonymous bomb threats that have led to school lockdowns. – CNN
What Yik Yak founders think when underage teens use the app:
They didn’t have the maturity… They’re just not psychologically developed enough to handle our app. – Brooks Buffington, Co-Founder & COO at Yik Yak for Venture Beat
Teens face charges for posting threats.
In Mobile County, Ala., in February 2014, a 16-year-old and 14-year-old were arrested after three schools essentially shut down for a day because of threats posted on Yik Yak. One of the juveniles has been charged with making terroristic threats.
Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich told reporters shortly after the arrests that authorities had tracked down the children after Yik Yak shared location data collected by the app. – LA Times
Juvenile arrested for school threats on Yik Yak. Video from FOX10 News – WALA
Yik Yak can be blocked on individual school campuses.
How to Request a Geofence at your school:
Email to information to [email protected]:
- School name & School’s address
- Latitude & longitude of school’s location (make sure that the location is dead center of the school’s campus or the geofence will be ineffective – Yik Yak recommends using this site)
What can parents do to help their kids to be safe and smart on social media?
- Have your kids delete this app and use Twitter.
- Yik Yak has 17+ age restriction, so you can set a restriction options on your kids’ mobile device.
- Explain to your kids that anonymous posts end up public and police can still find them.
- Tell them that if you threaten someone else you will get caught by the police.
- Ask your kids if they have friends that are on this app.
- Remind your kids to keep each post “Light, Bright and Polite.”
Do you have more questions about the Yik Yak app? Let us know in the comment section below.