It’s not totally a stretch to say that Yik Yak might become a hookup app.
Yik Yak was founded as an anonymous, location-based social network that was originally targeted at college students. The app quickly became popular at high schools, so much so that the company took some measures to block its use at some schools. The block didn’t totally work and its popularity at high schools continues.
Last month, Yik Yak took the first steps away from total anonymity, making “handles” an optional feature. Users can select a user name – which can be their real name – and can elect whether to use it or not for each post.
This week, Yik Yak is introducing what it is calling its most requested feature – chat. Starting today, any user who posts using a handle can send a message request to any other user who also uses a handle, in their local area. Users can accept or decline any chat request from any user. Yik Yak wants to increase the bonds between individual users, but only if both users are willing participants.
With handles and private chat, Yik Yak appears to be considering the idea that cyberbullying and other abusive behaviors might see an uptick. Apparently because of this, Yik Yak has also enhanced the user support features in its Safety Center.
Why do we say that it might morph into a hookup app? Check out the Yik Yak post at right. From what we’ve seen, a lot of posts on Yik Yak are made by lonely folks looking for company, and not all of them are G Rated. Until now, when users wanted to connect in real life, they typically traded Kik or Snapchat handles, which necessitated at least one of them posting it publicly. Awkward.
Now, if another lonely soul sees such a post and sends a private message, it could be off to the races for the two.
We don’t have anything against hookup apps, or hooking up in general for that matter, but we want to alert parents as to what could happen. Millions of teens have downloaded Yik Yak, and use it at least occasionally.
Now would be a great time to review which apps are on your teen’s phone, and talk about how she is using them.
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