Thursday, October 2, 2014

WHS Parent Resource

The App "Yik Yak" was recently in the news so I felt it was important to share with you some information related to the topic.  

Here are two news stories related to Yik Yak

Local schools dealing with 'Yik Yak' app bullying
Bullying leads to district banning app 

In our constant effort to stay up-to-date on current technology, teach digital citizenship and model good use of social media, there are times when students make poor choices and use these online tools for inappropriate behavior.   

I hope the information below is helpful in starting a conversation with your child about the significance of protecting their online identity and the importance of what they are posting online and the consequences that could effect their future.  


We are in this together and if you need support in any way, please reach out to the HS administration, guidance counselor or teacher. 



The following information came directly from a blog post with permission from Carl Hooker - Social Media Awareness: A letter for Parents  

More about Yik Yak

Yik Yak is the latest in a line of social media apps using location services to post messages to those around the user. These messages are anonymous, but they are not untraceable. This app has had many issues across the country at both high school and college level. While Yik Yak claims to have set up a Geofence (blocking cell data) around our schools, there are cases where students have been able to go out of range to post their messages. Here are some steps you can take as a parent to identify if this app is a problem for your child and what you can do to prevent its use.
If your child has the app, you can search what Yaks they have posted by clicking on “Me” and “My Yaks” inside their app. This will show you what they have posted, but know they can delete their yaks. However, you can see if they have ever posted on Yik Yak (even if they deleted the posts) by checking their “Yakarma” points in the upper left corner. By default, it’s set to 100.  If they voted on a yak, posted a yak, replied, or shared, the number will change.

Next steps –

If your child is a Yik Yak user, a conversation needs to happen with him/her about why they feel the need to be on the app. We are recommending all parents delete the app from their students devices, especially since Yik Yak policy states that you need to be of “college age” to use the app.  If you don’t see the app, but suspect it may have been downloaded, you can also check in   the Updates section of the App Store under “Purchased” on your child’s phone.  All apps ever downloaded are stored in there.
While deleting the app takes care of the immediate issue, there may be a larger issue at hand when it comes to the use of social media by your child. Please take this opportunity to have that conversation about how NOTHING on the internet is truly anonymous or temporary. 

Here’s a great article by Psychologist Diana Graber about 3 Things Kids Need to Know About Yik Yak.  I particularly love this excerpt from the article about Yik Yak and other apps that may follow it:

Here are articles about students being arrested for improper use of Yik Yak.  They can help our students understand the seriousness of bad behavior on social media. 

So….What Else is Out There?
Like the above article states, there is always a new “something” when it comes to technology and social media.  Being aware of what else is out there doesn't necessarily solve the problem, but it is a good place to start for parents.  Here are a few apps/sites to be aware of that have been making the rounds with teens nationally:
Kik
Ooovoo
Ask.fm
WhatsApp
Omegle
Yo.
Whisper
Secret
For a complete list of these and other social media sites gaining popularity with Teens, check out this Common Sense Media article on 15 Sites and Apps Kids Are Heading to Beyond Facebook
Again, awareness is just the first step.  We need to continue to have an open conversation about this and everything else happening in their lives.  Social media may be a new thing, but there has always been a need to discuss issues and problems with our teens well before Yik Yak and long after it’s gone.

Where Can I Get Help and Support?
Common Sense Media is a tremendous free resource for information from age-appropriate ratings of movies and video games to “best of” app lists for parents and kids.  We especially encourage you to check out the “How-to” section on Cyberbullying.  It includes many great resources for parents to use when addressing these topics with their kids including things like: “How do I monitor my teen online without “spying”?” and “What should I do if my kid is bullied online?”

The above information came directly from a blog post by Carl Hooker - Social Media Awareness: A letter for Parents  

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