On a college campus much like any other, iPhones are the primary mode of communication among students and faculty at PC. Because so many people have smart phones, new apps and trends inevitably creep into students’ conversations in an effort to stay current with everything new.
Conversations in the past few weeks has been filled with the relatively new app, “Yik Yak.” In this app, users do not create a login or are in any way identified. Users simply download the app and start “yakking” about anything. The effect of this app has caused concerns and led to the creation of an anti-bullying forum for students. It has sparked campus-wide outrage because it is being used as a vehicle for cyber bullying.
Senior Laura Irick, who was a leader at the forum, gave her view on the app: “I believe whole heartedly that ‘Yik Yak’ is not the problem, it is our community at large. We’ve all sat back for years being bystanders to cyber bullying thinking that someone else is going to do something about it, or that person being bullied is tough skinned, or that they truly deserve the bullying.”
Our generation is growing up with technology in a way that our parents did not. We have websites and games that allow us to talk to people from around the world, and a lot of those conversations are filled with swearing and name-calling. Cyber bullying is a major problem, and it has been a topic of discussion in the media for years because the consequences are so severe.
“Our community has made cyber bullying the norm. I think the solution is multifaceted, but the main goal I have is to change the idea that cyber bullying is normal. It is definitely not going to change because of a Facebook group or one meeting with students, but rather an ongoing awareness of the effects of cyber bullying on our community,” Irick said.
“I think one of the first things we can do is help the bystanders gain the courage to become activists against the bullies on this campus and show that we will not stand for it any longer,” she added.
I urge all “Yik Yak” users to think before they make a hateful post, and to think before they even open the app. If you would be sad or offended by something if it were directed at you, don’t post it.
Besides insults directed at other students, “Yik Yak” is also used as an anonymous outlet to vent about problems at PC. Prospective students who are on campus can at any time open the app and view the complaints. PC, like all colleges, has problems that need to be addressed, so if you have a complaint, tell someone who can make a change, or work towards one yourself.
“Yik Yak” itself is not a bad app. It can be a fun app for college students to use to stay in touch. If people should continue to use “Yik Yak,” I can only urge them to use it wisely and for the right reasons.