New app causing bullying issues in schools - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

New app causing bullying issues in schools

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Yik Yak is the latest app causing trouble in the classroom. Jefferson County Deputy Mike Yarborough says it was recently brought to his attention by school officials. Yik Yak is a simple app that takes seconds to download. A user logs on and Yik Yak shows messages posted by other users within a ten mile radius, but there's a catch.

"When you download it, you don't have to have a user name," Yarborough explained.

It's the messages anonymous users are leaving behind that concerns Yarborough.

"A lot of it can be considered cyber bullying. Bullying towards other students, teachers, and principals," Yarborough added.

Since the Sheriff's office became aware of Yik Yak  they've seen "bullying" type posts in three areas Hoover, Clay And Thompson. After seeing an alarming number of the harassing type messages, Yarborough is worried a Yik Yak post could lead to a tragic event.

"Depending on how seriously cyber bullying is taken these days, I believe this can be very dangerous. I mean we've had here locally children commit suicide because of people bullying them and this is a very easy way to bully people," Yarborough explained.

Yarborough encourages parents to check their student's phone for Yik Yak and similar ‘anonymous social apps'.

"Especially apps like this. And if they have it, find a way to control it, or even get rid of it. I can't think of a reason to actually have an app like this"

Yarborough says the best way to keep track of the apps on your kid's phone is to have a family account for downloading apps and says only parents should have the password required to approve downloads.

Yik Yak's co-founder Brooks Buffington says the app is designed so that users can vote down messages they do not want to see and the company has no control over what users decide to use it for. Buffington released this statement:

"We made this app for college students and recent graduates with the intention of creating friendly and constructive communities. Yik Yak has created fantastic communities in different cities and colleges campuses cross the nation where this problem is virtually non-existent."

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