Blocking texting and online messaging apps on our kids devices, like Yik Yak, was one of the main reasons we started NetSanity. Read the story below to get a real life example of how texting apps can be dangerous for your kids and pre-teens.
Recently, my teenage daughter came to me and mentioned that she wanted to add Yik Yak to her iPhone. I told her to give me a few days to do a little research and that I would have an answer for her. Later that day, I decided to download Yik Yak (easy to do because it is free) to my iPhone and see what it was all about. Since it works by loading Yak from your local area, I drove around and randomly checked several locations in my small town throughout the day. At first, Yik Yak seems innocent enough and fun. It allows users to post and read messages that are localized, typically to anyone within a 1.5-mile radius of their location, i.e. home or school.
Users can read anyone’s anonymous comments as long as they are in that local radius. Some of the messages that I pulled up in my small town were shocking.
If you don’t already know about Yik Yak, it is an app that has a timeline that looks like Twitter without photos. It allows anyone to post anything without attaching themselves to a username.
When you happen to be in an unfamiliar area, it is unlikely that the app would be of much neither interest nor harm, specifically to your teen or child. However, if you opened it up in the middle of a high-school gym or you happen to live in a small community, I can see how potentially damaging this simple little app could become.
You can see for yourselves! Here are some screenshots of what I saw just by pulling up Yik Yak at a few random places in my small town, throughout the day. We scrubbed the bad stuff and blurred out the four letter words, but I certainly would not be happy if my young kids saw these random posts.
I hope you will find it easier to make an informed decision for your family. For us, we use NetSanity on all of our kid’s Apple mobile devices and we have blocked this app with the AppBlocker feature. There is enough stuff out there already, and this seems totally inappropriate and unnecessary for our kids.
To conclude our thoughts on blocking Yik Yak
If our children decide to use a Yik Yak like app when they turn 18, that is fine. Until that day, however, Netsanity keeps it off their devices and it’s one more little thing this mom doesn’t have to worry about!