Recently a mobile device application has come to our attention; the potential impact of this application in our school community warrants this letter to you and your children.
This social media app, called Yik Yak, allows users to post comments anonymously within a 1.5 mile radius of an individual’s device or to respond to another user’s posting within the same radius. The app requires no user name or password; this apparent anonymity frees a user to say anything about anyone, whether true or false, appropriate or inappropriate, benign or harmful.
As you may imagine, the potential exists for postings to contain highly insensitive and destructive remarks about others, including anyone within a given school or local community.
One look at the remarks posted via this application will convince any civil, respectful individual that the application’s potential for harm far outweighs any benefit its developers may have originally intended.
The Manhasset School Community is working with our technology department to block this application from our wireless network and prevent its use on school property. We are looking to create a ‘digital (geo) fence’ to prevent access to the application within the Secondary School; however, even if successful, a digital block within the school will not prevent access to it outside of the range of our geographical location.
We urge parents to be aware of this application on their children’s mobile devices. We further encourage parents to speak to their children about the potential harm of using, posting, or responding to this or other allegedly anonymous applications such as Yik Yak.
As technologically savvy as many of our youngsters are, they are often unaware that no matter how ‘anonymous’ certain websites or apps may appear to be, a digital footprint is created with each and every use of a device, a footprint that is never fully erased.
Frankly, we are asking parents to tell their children not to use this or related applications, both for their own well-being and that of their classmates, neighbors and friends.
If you have any questions regarding this letter or application, please feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com or call at 267-7605.
Dr. Dean Schlanger