Yik Yak has come to Batavia High School and administrators are monitoring the social media site with a wary eye.
Already the subject of national news stories because of reports of bullying, bomb threats and juvenile chatter, Yik Yak provides posters with complete anonymity and an audience of proximity and immediacy.
Recent posts have included invitations (yes, more than one) for people to list the biggest slut at the school, accusations of sexual crimes, and insults directed at specific students and teachers.
And according to a couple of posters, if you think that's bullying, then that's your problem.
"Cyberbullying not real," wrote one anonymous poster in all caps. "If you dont (sic) wanna be 'cyberbullied' then delete the app or turn ya phone off."
On the other hand, there are messages that decry the immaturity of high school students on Yik Yak and defend some of those insulted.
A few posts seem to even use the app as intended -- to post what's going on around them or make funny observations.
"30 likes and I'll show up to school tomorrow in a tutu and high heels," wrote one poster. The post received more than 50 likes. No reports on anybody showing up at BHS in a tutu and high heels, however.
Yik Yak is a mobile app, for use on smartphones and tablets. Messages are shared only within a 1.5-mile radius of the location of where the post was created.
The terms of service require users to be older than 17 and news reports say the company founders are concerned about use by high school students and are trying to find ways to block access on school campuses and prevent underage users from signing on.
In news reports, founders Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, who are given credit in some accounts for being responsive to teenage bullying concerns, admit their efforts to limit usage to adults has proven difficult.
So far, Yik Yak has received more than $60 million in venture capital funding.
Asked about the appearance of Yik Yak on the BHS campus, Principal Scott Wilson responded:
Yes, We are aware of Yik Yak. We are monitoring it and it is blocked from the district network. As with all social media sites, we expect students to be responsible. The advice we give students is to not to respond to negative posts. They should report concerns to a responsible, trusted adult. Parents, counselors, teachers and administrators can help by listening to the concerns, investigate and conduct the necessary follow-up. The anonymity of Yik Yak is a challenge for all of us when kids use it irresponsibly.
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