Last November, two recent college graduates created the social media app Yik Yak. The app is similar to Twitter, but it’s anonymous and connects users so that only Yaks from a radius of just over a mile appear on your feed.
Its purpose is to allow you to “connect and share information with those around you.” While many students have downloaded the app, it has caused more harm than good.
Working with a company called Maponics to locate elementary, middle and high schools, Yik Yak has tried to ensure concerned parents that this app cannot be accessed in these areas.
According to Yik Yak co-founder Brooks Buffington, the app requires a certain amount of maturity and responsibility. However, some college students abuse the app’s purpose. Some examples, such as sending anonymous sex tapes or bomb threats, have highlighted the nefarious alternative uses students have found for the app.
I didn’t come across mature users of Yik Yak when I had the app, and I deleted it after two days. If the original purpose of Yik Yak was to read people’s thoughts around you, then it’s not the app’s fault. It’s the users. The anonymity of Yik Yak seems to attract a salacious audience that abuses the app’s original intent.
I don’t think a campus needs to go as far as banning it, but people need to realize what they are getting into when they download Yik Yak.
Students should remember that just like how Snapchat’s pictures and videos don’t really go away, the Yik Yak app tracks your phone by using your location, and your identity can be uncovered if you post something that is potentially criminal.
My philosophy is that if you’re looking for something entertaining, read a book, not Yik Yak.