In the last few weeks, the app Yik Yak has resurfaced at Ridgewood High School. The app, which was created by Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington in 2013, was originally designed to promote conversation with people that are within a five mile radius of each other. The threads are posted by anonymous posters.
Users, who will also be anonymous, can comment on these threads, and voice support or disdain for others’ comments using the system of “upvotes” and “downvotes”. Any post with five downvotes will automatically be deleted from Yik Yak’s server. Yik Yak holds immense popularity on college campuses, especially the University of Alabama, Wake Forest, and Baylor. All of these schools allow the general public. Regardless of proximity, to “peek” into the Yaks being posted in these areas.
Unfortunately, the anonymous forum of Yik Yak makes it an ideal platform for those who wish to cyberbully others. Posters lack accountability, and this makes saying mean things about others easier. Despite attempts to prevent cyberbullying, Yik Yak has been the forefront for scandals at top tier universities like Notre Dame and Colgate, all of which had issues with Yaks deemed racist by the student body.
Ridgewood High School is not exempt from Yak scandals, even with the ban on its use on school property. In 2014, an anonymous poster made a threat in reference to Ridgewood High School. Afterwards, teachers and other administrators conversed to see what they could do to help combat the negative effects of Yik Yak, whether it be through educating students about cyberbullying laws, or simply just to continue instilling the importance of kindness into their students.
The Ridgewood administration has recently made an announcement and sent out emails expressing the intolerance it would have for cyberbullying on apps like Yik Yak. It remains to be seen as to whether or not the students will obey the administration’s wishes to stay off Yik Yak.