By Libby Ward
Do you ever remember a point in your childhood when an adult looked to you and said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say it at all”? Well if you do then perhaps you’ve heard about Yik Yak; a new anonymous social media app,that has unleashed a new wave of cyber-bullying amongst college and high school students. The app started back in 2013 at the hands of Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffinton, both 23 and recent college graduates of Furman University.They stated that they intended the app to be for college purposes only and as a friendly way to connect with people. However, high schoolers have taken over the college-aimed app and have been using it to make criminally offensive remarks in regards to fellow classmates.
Dr. Keith Ablow, psychiatrist and member of the Fox News medical team, reported on the Fox site back in May of this year, “Yik Yak is the most dangerous app I have ever seen. It can turn a school into a virtual chat room where everyone can post his or her comments, anonymously. Untruthful, mean, character-assassinating short messages are immediately seen by all users in a specific geographic area.” So what does this mean for the young adults on our campus?
Within the past few weeks already on the Fitchburg State campus the app has received widespread popularity, which has contracted both positive and negative reactions. The picture included with this article gives people an idea of how Yik Yak works on this campus. Please note that some content has been blurred due to the nature of it.
Many have already experienced instances of harassment, but none have been enough to stop the app’s use on campus. According to MSNBC news source, the FBI is working closely with the creators to strip campuses that have used the app for making anonymous threats, however the app has not raised itself to a violent level at our school.
Yik Yak already has safeguards in place to protect anyone from heinous, foul language, but sometimes it’s just not enough to stop harassing comments from being made. The most important thing to do if you feel threatened or uncomfortable by any comments is to flag that particular comment immediately, and if necessary, report it to the campus police. To end with how negatively this app is being viewed, Dr. Ablow wishes that the creators of this app go bankrupt and finished his statement by stating that “Notice this: I am willing to say all this about Yik Yak honestly and openly, without hiding behind an anonymous app created by antisocial developers who want to get rich and don’t care if that means ruining our kids on the way to the bank.”
Additional news sources related to Yik Yak can be found on Fox News,The Boston Globe, Huffington Post, MSNBC, and The Chicago Tribune.