Yik Yak, Social Media App Scare

McGill-tollen

A social media application called, Yik Yak lead to a disturbance at three Mobile County High Schools this week.

The startup was launched by a couple of college students three months ago.  It allows users to post comments anonymously.  There’s no login, no password…just post under an alias.  The founders describe it as a fun app to share stories.  However some parents to whom we spoke with say it’s anything but.

“Not fun it’s hurtful. It’s getting out of hand.  I have the app on my phone. I was shocked at what people will say when they think people don’t know who they are,” said Elizabeth Doggett.

Doggett was one of many parents that came together Wednesday and prayed for students’ safety and also for the app to go away.  The concern cames on the heels of a threat from so-called Yakkers, who said there would be a shooting at McGill Toolen Catholic High School.

It turned out to be a rumor. But as a precaution, the school sent this alert to parents informing them that it would be beefing up patrols for the rest of the week.

In the meantime, the Mobile County Public School System urged parents to monitor their kids’ social media accounts in a Facebook posting.  The system says parents really need to be on the lookout for this app, because it uses location services.  That means messages can be seen by students at other area school.

We talked to a Spanish Fort high schooler who deleted the app, because of all the cyber-bullying.  “I’ve heard of people that wanted to commit suicide over it.  It’s crazy it’s insane,” said Hanna Willis.

Investigators from the Mobile County District Attorney’s office and Mobile Police Department are looking into the matter.

Monitoring Kids Social Media

  1. Check privacy settings: check that your privacy settings for the internet and Facebook are set to the strictest levels.
  2. Use Filtering Software: Popular programs like Net Nanny and PureSight allow you to monitor social media sites, block chats, filter content and more.
  3. Create Rules:  The best way for families to agree on ground rules is to create a contract that all parties must sign. And make sure the consequences for breaking the rules are enforced.
  4. Look at the pictures your child posts
  5. Prevent your child from making purchases: Go to your iOS device Settings à General à Restrictions and tap Enable Restrictions.  Enter four-digit pass-code and then turn on restrictions for “Installing Apps” and “In-App purchases” (the slider should read off.)
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