Yik Yak anonymous messaging app

I mentioned Yik Yak in my recent post “Not all Apps are for Kids“.  This anonymous messaging app is back in the news again due to a story on the Today show.

 

Here are a few things parents should know about Yik Yak

Yik Yak is intended for the 17+ audience.  Even the founders don’t want the under-18 crowd at their party:

YikYak's rules

 

 

No sign-up or account creation needed.

Posts are anonymousno accountability for one’s words and actions.

Uses your location to display “yaks” (messages that other Yak users have posted) in your vicinity.  Messages you share are seen by those in your general location. (As I mention in most posts that have to do with apps knowing where you are, you can restrict an app from receiving location data).

Since the main “feed” only shows messages posted by others within your general area, you could download the app and quickly see if there is a lot of “yakking” going on in your neighborhood.    That’s what I did, and there isn’t too much Yak action (Yaction?) in this neck of the woods.

When sending a Yak, you can choose to hide your Yak’s location (the default is to show it). When someone else clicks your Yak, they will see a map with your location.  It was pretty darn accurate!

Yik Yak message option to hide locaction   A map showing the location where a Yak message originated

 

Yaks are sharable to Twitter/Facebook and can be saved as an image. (You know what kids like to do with screenshots from apps? Share them on other apps.)

You can peek at a few other Feeds other than your own (i.e. outside of your location).  Some are imaginary (Hogwarts?) But perusing the feeds from college campuses does give you a general idea of the variety of messages that are shared through the service. I did see a few posts like “Is there a line at Chipotle right now?” and I suspect those were the types of messages the Yik Yak founders were hoping for when creating the app.  A true local online bulletin board.  I didn’t see any Yaks that I would call outright bullying, but plenty of cursing, joking around about booze, sex and drugs, and unfortunately some demeaning comments about women in general.

You can report a Yak if you find anything abusive or against their terms:

Report a Yak

 

In news stories the two young app founders do seem to be taking the bullying/harassment issues seriously by working with authorities and even “geo-fencing” areas around middle schools and high schools (so that the service cannot be used on school grounds). Of course that won’t prevent teens from using the app outside school.  You can restrict apps by rating which would prevent Yik Yak from being available, so that is certainly an option in addition to talking with your teen about this app and others.

If you are in the one of the communities where this app has become popular, how have you handled it?

 

Share the Knowledge:

Never miss a post!

Sign Up for free e-mail updates

Comments

  1. David K says

    Could you do a post on proxies and ‘onion routers’. Although it’s less common knowledge, kids can very easily get on to any website they want, whether on school grounds, at home, or even somewhere with heavy filters preventing entry to 18+ websites. Stuff like this can also be used to bypass app rating restrictions.

    Oh yeah, and I haven’t read all of your app reviews yet, so I don’t know if you folks know this, but the makers of apps on the iOS App Store get to rate their own apps. Because so many apps are being submitted, often bad apps get through with low ratings. For example, dead space for iOS, is rated 12+ on the App Store, when it is rated mature (17+) on PC. Dead space for iPad and dead space for computer are different, but the iOS version is still pretty… Interesting to say the least.

    Thanks,
    David

    • Jean says

      Hi David,
      Thanks for your comment. That would be good information to share – without giving away too many secrets to any teens reading! Although I suspect the information is easy enough to come by…that’s why I always suggestion discussions and agreed upon expectations in addition to parental control tools. They are just that – tools – and not a solution on their own, but meant to support us in parenting! And yes I think I do mention that in my article about restricting by app rating, that it is the developers who submit their apps with the suggested rating. So parents should be taking a look at all apps…even those rated 4+ or 12+.

Comment Policy: Your comments are encouraged! As mentioned in my Comment Policy, comments will not be published that are spam or questionable spam, use profanity or inappropriate language, personal attacks, or offensive terms. Comments are moderated before being published. I try to respond to all questions in comments, but may not be able to respond to all. Due to an increase in spam, I have to ask you to do some simple math to prove you're not a spam robot....thanks!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *