22 Aug 2014
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Save A Life And Kill Yik Yak

Columnist Christine Wolf started a petition to shut down the mobile app, intended to share anonymous messages with up to 10,000 people nearby. Will you sign it?

If you haven’t heard about Yik Yak, the mobile app that lets users post anonymous, Twitter-like messages to up to 10,000 people instantly, you might want to brace for impact.

Yik Yak’s slamming its way into schools through students’ mobile devices, many of whom download the free app despite a warning of age-restricted material and a request to confirm that a user is 17 or over.

To learn more about Yik Yak, check out these columns on ChicagoNowand Business Insider.

Yesterday, at least one student at Evanston Township High School was reportedly so upset by messages circulating throughout the school that she stood up in class and pointed out how certain messages can drive some students to consider suicide. Her teacher allegedly scrapped the planned lesson for the day and spent the rest of the class discussing the implications of Yik Yak in regard to bullying and appropriate communication.

Evanston Township High School Superintendent Dr. Eric Witherspoon shared this comment via email today:

“Yik Yak is an example of something that brought out the worst in some people. We know that teenagers can sometimes make some very bad judgments, and this was an example where some teenagers were cruel and hurtful to others. I am especially troubled that some people use today’s technology to hide behind anonymous comments. We should teach our children that people of character own up to their own comments and never hide behind anonymity to criticize or hurt other human beings.”

While parents and educational institutions work to minimize potential harm, technology experts report the unprecedented measures being taken by some municipalities to disable the app.

I started this petition on Change.org, requesting that Yik Yak co-founders Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll to take the app down. Is that going too far? Would the addition of filters be acceptable?

What do you think?

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