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The Barrel Has No Bottom : Yik Yak Review: Another Anonymous Social Media Site Perfect for Cyberbullying & It’s Worse Than Ask.fm

The Barrel Has No Bottom : Yik Yak Review: Another Anonymous Social Media Site Perfect for Cyberbullying & It’s Worse Than Ask.fm

YikYak logoI’ve realized that the barrel has no bottom. There will be no scraping the bottom, because there will always be another app or social platform to discuss which tops (or bottoms) the potential ugliness of the previous one.

In honor of Safer Internet Day, we have a new cootie to dissect. This one is called Yik Yak – perhaps because that is what it will make you want to do….

Yik Yak is worse than Ask.fm. Yes, I said it – WORSE. And if you aren’t sure what Ask.fm is read two of my previous posts:

 

Why Yik Yak is Worse than Ask.fm

As we’ve seen before, Ask.fm’s marketed anonymity makes it easy for anyone to ask YOU on YOUR profile questions. They can be nasty and mean but they’re asking YOU.

On Ask.fm:

  1. A user creates a profile (most kids use their real names and location – which is dumb, obviously)
    For this example we’ll call her Sally Smith from Topeka Kansas
  2. Another user can ask the first user any question at all anonymously
    Another user we’ll call Jenny Jones from Topeka Kansas
  3. Jenny goes onto Sally’s Ask.Fm page and posts a question – questions like the following are extremely common on Ask.fm
    * Why are you such a whore?
    * Why don’t you kill yourself?
    * Do your parents hate you as much as everyone else?
  4. Sally does not know who is posting the question

 

Now let’s apply the same scenario above to Yik Yak

  1. A user downloads the app
    Which by the way is meant for 17+ college students, and the app maker warns about inappropriate content
  2. The app grabs the user’s location via GPS
  3. The user posts a comment openly to whomever is listening about whatever
    **Do any of you know Sally Smith? She is such a whore
    **I’m pretty sure my English teacher – Mr. Taylor- is gay
  4. The post arrives in the feed of anyone physically near the user posting. So you will see the posts from everyone within x radius of you. Think: community wide
  5. A map accompanies every single post showing exactly where you physically were when you posted

 

Here is an actual example from my current Yik Yak screen

Note the second post which reads “Gotta feeling this is going to get out of control”.

yik yak posts
Actual Yik Yak Feed

 

When we click on that particular post we get this map – apparently whomever posted that comment was inside Vestavia Hills High School at the time

yik yak location
When you click on one of the posts in the screen above you will see that it was posted by someone at Vestavia High School

 

If we zoom in slightly we will know exactly the spot where the user was standing inside of the building when that post was uploaded to Yik Yak

yik yak bldg
Exact location in the building

 

Biggest Concerns with Yik Yak

Anonymity: This is the same issue with Ask.fm. Anonymity makes bullies feel brave. We can expect to hear a lot more about this app in conjunction with cyberbullying issues.

Posting: It is feasible and reasonable to assume that it won’t be long before the feed becomes my generation’s equivalent of the bathroom wall. “For a good time call….”

Location: This app not only serves up the feed of the posts closest to you (location issue #1), but it then reveals the location of the user posting (location issue #2).

 

What happens now?

This app is not meant for children. The app makers make that plain in their Android and IOS marketplace descriptions.

According to their marketing language:

– The ultimate way to share your thoughts and recommendations, anonymously.
– Share your own Yaks and see what other people are saying.
– No login, no password, no traces; simply anonymous.
– Upvote and downvote Yaks, see what makes it to the ‘Hot’ page!
– Perfect for college/university students to stay social!

Obviously your child should have not have this app on his/her phone.

 The only thing we can continue to do is to parent our children. Watch this video for a review on the basics. 


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Internet Safety Expert: Jesse Weinberger

Internet Safety Book for Parents: The Boogeyman Exists by Jesse WeinbergerJesse Weinberger is an Internet Safety Expert, digital strategist, instructor, and the owner of OvernightGeek University. Weinberger is the author of “The Boogeyman Exists: And He’s In Your Child’s Back Pocket”; a guide for parents and educators on how to keep children safe in a 24-7 always connected digital society. Click here to learn more. 

She has been teaching parents, schools, and students how to navigate online and mobile risks since 2003. Jesse is available for presentations to schools, parents, students, and organizations.