By Penny Arévalo
The makers Yik Yak, a smartphone app blocked in Chicago earlier this month, have extended the block to many of the nation's high schools and middle schools following a bomb scare at a California high school.
Children are not ready for the responsibility of anonymity, the makers of Yik Yak have concluded.
Orange County Sheriff’s deputies were monitoring the increasingly popular social media app called Yik Yak, which allows users to post anonymously, not even requiring email accounts to sign in, on March 6 when they discovered the bomb threat against San Clemente High.
The school was immediately put on lockdown mode until bomb-sniffing dogs and deputies searched the campus and gave the all-clear.
In Illinois, the app was being used to cyber-bully students. Yik Yak was being used to verbally abuse students and faculty at Lake Forest High School, and the principal warned parents in an email, calling the app "vicious."
Other schools around the country have had similar problems.
Yik Yak works with the GPS in a phone to set up geographical boundaries where users can post pretty much anything they want. According to a blog in the Huffington Post by local parent Diana Graber, Yik Yak officials contacted a Vermont company called Maponics to help place "geo-fences," or virtual walls, around schools, thus blocking kids from using the app.
Yik Yak co-founder Tyler Droll confirmed the app is no longer available at 85 percent of the country’s middle and high schools.
For the remaining 15 percent, “if kids start using it at a school we have not blocked yet, then the best option is for someone to contact us and we will block it as soon as possible,” Droll told Patch.