CHICAGO (CBS) — Some local schools have begun warning parents of a new smartphone app that kids can use to anonymously post vicious and nasty comments about each other.
The developers of Yik Yak on Thursday disabled the app in the Chicago market as it studies safeguards to keep minors from using it.
“It’s for people that like to stay stuff behind your back,” said Nicholas, a 16-year-old student at Whitney Young High School.
WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports officials at Whitney Young and other high schools have sent parents letters warning them about Yik Yak, and its potential for users to anonymously post tasteless, insulting and harmful comments about other people.
The app uses GPS technology so users can see the comments of others nearby, but it allows users to post comments without a name or even a profile attached.
Whitney Young sophomore Ashley said she doesn’t intend to download the app.
“I think it’s horrible. We shouldn’t be talking about other people, and be spreading this kind of stuff around,” she said. “I think it’s good that they took initiative to talk about it and say that you shouldn’t use that.”
Cedric, a 15-year-old classmate, said he won’t use Yik Yak, in part because he doesn’t want to see what others might be saying about him behind his back.
“I know that there’s been a bunch of drama going on in school about it; that there’s a bunch of bad comments about people,” he said. “It’s very hurtful, and it’s causing a lot of the students to get really stressed out.”
Some of the comments on Yik Yak are sexual, others are just vulgar. Others are mundane, or total nonsense.
A Yik Yak co-founder on Thursday told the CBS-affiliated tech website CNET that the development team is looking into ways to prevent underage users from accessing it. Yik Yak was supposed to be a virtual “bulletin board” for college students, he tells WBBM.