5 Ways Yik Yak App Can Be Harmful to Your Kids
Apart from trendy Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, a new level of socialization has been introduced by the Yik Yak app. This social media application is a place for people to anonymously post comments that can be accessed by others within 1.5 miles proximity. While Yik Yak is immensely popular among students and pro-active adults, many people are still unaware of this social networking software.
What is Yik Yak indeed? Yik Yak is a location-based app that helps people to connect with their communities and thus, find herds of supporters to share news, ideas, gossips, etc. The idea to create the app was born in heads of 24-year old Furman University graduates Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington. In late 2013, they’ve implemented their distinct social app, and soon it undertook the unseen furor among students of all ages.
To a great extent, Yik Yak owes its popularity to the complete anonymity. Also, it is free to download and once launched, it enables users to view and contribute to all feeds of other users in a 1.5 miles radius. With Yik Yak, it is easy to create a GPS-confined social forum and have a localized discussion with those you never met and thus, share different content, relevant, and timely information that may be useful for other users in the vicinity.
So, how does Yik Yak work? First of all, it determines a user’s location. Then it simply suggests all available 1.5-mile radius zone pockets where people socialize. The final step is loading all messages (called “yaks”) posted by users within the area. From this point on, a user can contribute to other people’s post, attach pictures to the comments, upvote or downvote, and score a success rate for a particular post. Moreover, a user gets to enjoy such function as peeking at far-away communities’ posts, however without the ability to comment or rate them.
With a number of useful and positive features this anonymous messaging app delivers, there are also a bunch of pitfalls and threats that may encounter a regular Yik Yak user. In general, it is possible to outline 5 major ways Yik Yak may harm your children:
1. It provides access to loads of inappropriate content, sex- and drugs-related conversations, and other explicit materials.
The majority of Yik Yak users are campus students, although the app is easily available for schoolers and underage kids. It’s not a secret that college students are prone to talk about dirty and illegal things, post marginal and explicit materials. All this becomes available for every user within a local community, and thus, all sorts of bad stuff are easily accessible for everybody via Yik Yak. To sign up for the app, a user is prompted to confirm his 17-year age and over, although there are no means to verify this. Therefore, unfortunately, all Yik Yak underage users can reach inappropriate information even if they don’t intend to.
2. It increases the risk of kids being victimized by online predators.
Total anonymity makes it impossible for children to find out who they are really talking to, and a narrow 1.5-mile localization enables online predators to reach out to a kid without extra efforts. As a consequence, it is easier for an Internet culprit to arrange a meeting with a victim at any time in the vicinity without even parents knowing about it. So, it becomes almost impossible to prevent such situations, and youngsters can be easily lured into an adverse adventure and even get hurt.
3. It exposes kids to untraceable and implicit cyberbullying.
Due to the absolute anonymity Yik Yak provides its users with, cyberbullying becomes untraceable altogether. All kinds of mean messages, derogatory and harassing feeds are soaring within Yik Yak communities, and it is impossible to track down where they have come from. This implies that users, especially children, are not safeguarded from offensive and harassing messages, or posts that may afflict them. With this app, Yik Yak bullying becomes continuously maintained by numerous, anonymous embarrassing posts.
4. It can cause personal information leak if used carelessly or unwisely.
Kids like to boast, gossip, and share original information only they possess. Despite unique anonymous nature of Yik Yak, it is easy to post anything a kid may come up with. Actually, even if it is not meant to, private information about somebody can be revealed, and after other users see it, the feed might spread rapidly around the community and even beyond. Thus, a kid may accidentally share the undesired message that may hurt both parties – the kid itself and other users.
5. It makes children addicted to posting and reading anonymous feeds.
Kids adore having privacy on the Internet, being able to access information anywhere and anytime, and being fully authorized to make posts they want. Not only does the Yik Yak entitle them to create feeds without identity exposure, but also to browse up-to-date content, messages, and other posts within the community in the vicinity. Kids are very curious, and also want to be the first to share interesting info. Thus, with the Yik Yak enabling them to do all this stuff, it’s so easy to get attached to the app.
No doubt, Yik Yak is a unique app designed to group people within a community. It attracts users by enabling them to post messages anonymously and thus, express themselves, appeal to, and contribute to others. However, like many other social apps, it is an open field for cyberbullying and inappropriate content distribution. Kids are never totally secure while using such apps. So it is imperative to educate them about safe Internet behavior and consider monitoring their online activity once in a while.