Yik Yak is an anonymous chat app that has been around for a while but has just recently taken off among teens. The app is intended for college students but younger students have been adopting it at a rapid rate. As you might expect when adolescents use an anonymous chat platform it can quickly turn ugly.
A school I was working with recently became aware of negativity on Yik Yak as they were trying to build positive school culture for start of the year. They quickly got several student leaders and administrators on the app and let everyone know they were joining the conversation. They up-voted positive comments and down-voted negativity.
Although that is a great approach (and a powerful teachable moment for teens) it’s not a long term solution. Yik Yak founders recently acknowledged that their app was being used in an unintended way and have taken steps to correct it by partnering with Maponics to set up ‘geofences’ around high schools in the US. That means that when teens try to use Yik Yak within a few miles of your school they will be blocked until they go home.
If your school is struggling with a Yik Yak ‘outbreak’ here are some steps you can take:
- Talk about it with your students, chances are there are students who know what is going on and don’t like it. Engaging silent bystanders is a great way to address bullying online and in real life
- Get a few administrators or student leaders to get on the platform and help keep things positive
- If your school hasn’t been ‘geofenced’ contact Yik Yak directly and they will set one up for you
What do you think, have you struggled with Yik Yak already at your school? Do you have other strategies to address anonymous chat apps? Let us know in the comments!