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Diatribe: Yik Yak.


YikYakThere’s something wrong with the method by which age-restricted mobile phone apps are distributed and monitored.  Most apps, particularly those that are free, require nothing more than an iTunes account, corresponding password and the honor system.  Users have to simply confirm that they are at least eighteen years old or risk violating the app’s Terms of Service.  There are little to no consequences for underage users who simply lie about how old they are in order to install an app on their cell phone.

Yik Yak is one such app.  The social networking app, that is popular with high school kids, requires no passwords, involves no profiles, is completely anonymous and is being used by these kids as a cruel and embarrassing way to bully their classmates.  The local social wall for sharing anything and everything was originally intended for use on college campuses but has become popular among teens who always appear to be searching for social media that may not be monitored as closely by parents as more well-known and popular applications.

Many school districts across the nation are trying address the potential cyber-bullying tool by blocking use of the app on their networks.  Of course, this won’t solve potential problems because the social media is being used on networks outside of the school system.  Schools are finding themselves spending quite a bit of time and money addressing problems caused by this unnecessary mobile phone scourge.

Not only do students use the app to harass each other in ways that high school students have never harassed one another before, but it has actually led to several instances of underage students being arrested after using Yik Yak to post threats about campus shootings and terroristic threats.  Fortunately, the developers of the app helped officials track the users down by releasing the suspects’ cell phone information and tracking it to an address.

I can’t imagine why Yik Yak wasn’t also held accountable, to some degree, for the actions of their underage users when they allowed the youngsters access to their network to begin with.  There really must be some sort of “parental control” on apps of this nature or, I predict there will ultimately be serious problems.

Who should be held accountable for the actions of anonymous youngsters using social media?  Should it be the social media itself?  Parents?  Certainly, school districts have enough on their plates without a distraction like this.  The app really serves no purpose and, frankly, I don’t understand why it needs to exist.

Have you ever heard of Yik Yak?


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From → Diatribes

  1. thedogs'mother permalink

    No, have not heard of it. But all the kids are in their 20s here. Would cost them money but one way is to allow social apps to have access to things to check ages like driver’s lisc. numbers – so you have to be 16. Selective Service – 18 and male. The Ye Olde National ID debate.
    Kids are always miles ahead of their parents in computerly stuff. I think eventually that will mitigate as computers get easier and easier to use. Then, as Mom, I could announce, “This child is 14 and block all media not appropriate. Thank you, Siri.”


    • Surely, you’re on the right track. Parents should already be able to monitor their children’s cell phone usage. The technology exists to allow for cable boxes to have “parental controls” so I imagine it can exist for mobile phones, too.


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