Yik Yak doesn’t seem to have infiltrated Houston high schools in any big way…yet. It’s a new app that creates a social chat site limited to 500 people with GPS that limits users to those within a 5 mile radius. Yik Yak was created for college students – an alternative to Twitter, and with a twist. No one signs in; there are no user names or passwords. Everything is anonymous.
Dr. Justin Patchin, PhD has spent the past ten years studying teens and technology, with particular focus on cyber-bullying, social networking, and sexting. He’s written several books on the topic, his newest directed at teens called “Words Wound: Delete Cyberbullying and Make Kindness Go Viral.”
“Parents need to have conversations with their kids about where they are going online, what applications they’re using and how they’re being used,” says Dr. Patchin.
He’s been watching Yik Yak spread from the northeast across the country. In Alabama last month a student used the app to threaten school shootings. A Massachusetts school had to evacuate twice after someone posted a bomb threat on Yik Yak.
“Educators need to be aware of this because it seems to be disproportionally affecting what’s going on in schools. In fact, many principles have sent home letters to parents informing that about this app and what it is,” Dr. Patchin tells KTRH News. Several schools in the Chicago area have banned the app.
A check around ISD’s in the Houston area didn’t find any trouble reported.