If you’re a parent of high school kids, whether you are familiar with Yik Yak or not, you should download the app today, even if you have no desire for another app or social thingy. Sound crazy?
Yik Yak is a troublesome app that we’ve written about numerous times before. The app acts as an anonymous, location based message board, which makes it ideal for covert messages at schools. It has been blamed for numerous school threats and lockdowns, and countless cyberbullying cases in the year since its launch.
One of the latest, at Palos Verde Peninsula High School in California highlights how the current efforts to manage or curtail the troubles caused by Yik Yak are sorely lacking.
Since reacting to an anonymous threat before a school dance in September, school officials have been trying to get Yik Yak to erect a geofence around the school in order to shut off student access to the app, which is more easily said than done. In fact:
- Citing a lack of resources at the company, the school claims that they haven’t been able to get Yik Yak to erect the geofence yet. This from the company that in March claimed to have geofenced 85% of the high schools in the U.S.
- According to the district, even when a geofence is erected, it will be effective in blocking the app via wifi only. Cell phone access is still possible (when we asked the company this question, they denied it.)
- We tested one school that did have a geofence, and the app was available from the school parking lot and the surrounding area
If there are students who want to use Yik Yak, they are able to. Of course, we encourage parents to check their teens’ phones to see if Yik Yak is on there. If it is, start asking questions.
Since we know that all parents aren’t going to check, it’s time for the community to get involved in the solution. We are calling on all parents of high school aged kids to download Yik Yak, and periodically monitor it for inappropriate posts. Cyberbullying, even if your child is not involved, can be reported to school officials. Serious threats can be reported to the police.
We are encouraged by the fact that Yik Yak has been quick to act when threats are reported to the police; hence the fact that there have been numerous arrests. If we as parents can’t get access to Yik Yak blocked for high school students, we can help by reporting incidents when users are posing a threat.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.
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