One of the more difficult tasks for parents today relate to keeping track of the apps that are made available to their children with SmartPhones. With each passing month there is a new app that makes its way to the headlines.
It of course started perhaps before apps existed — with Friendster and MySpace – and graduated to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Ask.Fm, SnapChat and so on. One could make a career simply reviewing each app. The website 148apps.biz, which keeps statistics on such things, estimates that there are now over 1.1 million apps currently available on iTunes. Who could have imagined the volume and availability of so many apps back in 2008?
The reality is, the best you can do is to read blogs like this and related articles – and be vigilant.
The latest app that is darkening the digital-door of many homes is upstart Yik-Yak. That’s correct. It’s not a typo. Yik Yak. But then again we thought the names of Yahoo and Google were odd back in the 90’s.
Founded just five months ago by entrepreneurs Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, Yik Yak is aimed at connecting age-appropriate users within a mile-and-a-half geographical radius. All contacts and posts are done anonymously.
In some instances the app has been put to good work. For example: Students at a university used Yik Yak to raise money for a fellow student undergoing treatment for cancer. Yik Yak created the forum for increased awareness and support among like-minded peers.
However, like all technology, it can be used for both good and bad. The bad was most recently highlighted at Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut, when students using Yik Yak slandered the names of their fellow students while using terms like “slut” and “fag.” As New York Magazine revealed in a recent article: One person wrote, “How long do we think before A. B. kills herself?” All such words were posted anonomously without any thought — or consequences for their actions.
As we often say in our social media presentations, cars represent great technology. We can’t imagine life without such transporations. However, when used without training or regard for others, serious damage can be done. The same is true with Yik Yak and many other apps avialable to teens. There is nothing wrong with the technology – it’s the misuse of the apps, SmartPhones and tablets that create the issues. Make certain you understand all apps – and explain the ramifications of their mis-use to your children.
Here are some interesting articles that provide a much deeper perspective on the most recent app invading your child’s SmartPhone.
From New York Magazine: http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/04/gossip-app-brought-my-high-school-to-a-halt.html
From Yahoo Finance: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/hyper-local-social-messaging-app-120000737.html