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Could the app Yik Yak be a cyberbullying tool?

12:33 AM, Feb 22, 2014   |    comments
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(WXIA) - Have you heard of the new app called Yik Yak? The concept is pretty simple: it's an anonymous social message board. But some schools are sending a strong warning to parents, telling them if their kids have it on their phone to delete it.

"We will not allow this to disruption the culture of our school," read Dorie Griggs of Roswell from a letter from her children's school.

Griggs was one of those parents and the letter came from the school's principal himself.

"This app is allowing students to verbally abuse each other, teachers and staff at RHS already," the letter reads in part.

The app itself is free. But even to download, the description cautions that Yik Yak contains age-restricted material and should not be used by anyone under the age of 17.

The description itself seems simple enough -- talk about anything and everything, share your stories anonymously. But in the hands of middle and high schoolers, parents fear it could easily become a took for cyberbullying.

"Enough goes on without social media," said Shelley Rose with the Anti-Defamation League. "And having another, anonymous way to do it is really concerning."

Rose warns anonymity could actually empower a bully. With no identification, there are no consequences.

"And cyberbullying a student maybe gets targeted or gets used, and it's a 24-7 thing," Rose said. "They can't get away from it, and once it's out there, it's out there."

The rules for the app say specifically - "Do not bully or harass anyone using this app." And again, the description notes that it is intended for users over 17.

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