Here’s a trend we’d like to see – teachers on Yik Yak. We saw it for the first time this morning, although we’ll admit that we don’t spend a ton of time or energy looking. It was a simple message, but potentially a powerful one, “Dear HCRHS students. Please be mindful of what you post on here. We’re watching 😉 – One of your teachers”
HCRHS is Hunterdon Central Regional High School, a large public school in Flemington NJ located about a mile from our office.
Yik Yak has stated publicly that the anonymous app is blocked at high schools using geofence technology but it isn’t really. It is blocked in some/many/most schools that we’ve seen, but users can access the app from any place nearby, as evidenced by the fact that we can access it from our office. High school students can post all the hateful messages that they want, just not when they’re in school, in some cases.
On the Hunterdon Central post, we can’t be sure that it’s really a teacher, and, as one reply pointed out, a teacher posting on Yik Yak will not know the identity of those posting since the platform is anonymous. Furthermore, it’s not really a teacher’s job to monitor social media. That’s all true, but a quick post on Yik Yak has a chance of making a difference.
We’ve written before that we’d like to see more parents on Yik Yak. When parents ask us what types of abuse we see online, they are consistently shocked by our answers. Clearly, most haven’t spent much time browsing the online media that their teens tend to use. According to recent Pew Internet research, teens are about 50% more likely than their parents to use Twitter, and they’re about twice as likely to use Instagram.
If teachers, and parents, get more involved in social networks and apps that teens are using to abuse others:
- Some kids – not all certainly, but some – will be chastened and act more kindly
- Some kids may be quicker to speak up and report it when they see abuse, knowing that there are adults watching
- Some kids may themselves be more willing to come to the defense of cyberbullying victims
Social media is a community, and the members themselves can make it a better place. We don’t expect all teachers to be active on Yik Yak, or any social media for that matter, but it may only take a handful of teachers at any given school to make a difference. As a matter of fact, last month it was brought to our attention that there was an anonymous Twitter account at a local middle school that was making cruel comments about some of the students. We posted the tweet at right, and the account hasn’t made a single negative comment since.
We can all do our part.
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