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Yakking: A classic tale of anonymity

Yik Yak is a beautifully developed social media app that allows users to post anonymously and view anonymous posts (called Yaks) made by others in their area. The app allows for users to post whatever they may like in an attempt to gather “upvotes.”

These upvotes are similar to “likes” on Facebook and each one earned contributes to that users’ yakarma score. The allure lies in Yik Yak’s anonymity, but this is also its weakness. Many college campuses have tried to ban this app in an attempt to stop the cyber-bullying that seems to follow it everywhere.

Cyber-bullies thrive on Yik Yak and its anonymity; they often make cruel remarks about specific people on the campus and are even upvoted for their efforts. Some would say we need to follow the lead of other universities and ban the app altogether.

Reviews for this app on the app store call it the “worst app ever created” and say that it “should be nationally banned.” They somehow believe that it is the app that is bullying people. These “anti-yakkers” would have every school ban the app from their Wi-Fi and punish those who use it.

Truly, this would have some effect on the usability of the app and would restrict people from using it, however few that would be. They insist that the app is evil and should not even be allowed on the app store.

No doubt about it, cyber-bullying is wrong and should not be tolerated, but banning an app from the local Wi-Fi does not restrict all use. To circumvent this ban, students would only have to switch their cell phones to LTE or 4G and then they could yak away to their hearts desire.

It’s not the app that is the problem, but those who use the app maliciously, and banning it would only remove the few who are yakking positive things.

If someone were to beat a man over the head with a shovel, you wouldn’t arrest the shovel, you would arrest the person. Just the same, an app shouldn’t be banned solely because people use it for harm.  Keep in mind, police can and will find people who post yaks that violate the law. Cyber Crime Commander Lt. Chuck Cohen of Indiana said to Fox 8 News, “No one is truly anonymous online.”

Anonymity brings out the best and the worst in people. Here at ORU, the yaks are incredibly varied. In one yak you may find a Bible verse on love and kindness, but in the next you may find f-bombs directed at the administration.

This app forces us to the realization that ORU is not much different from other universities; ORU faces the same issues and shortcomings that everyone else does. ORU, however, can be the one to set an example.

What if, instead of yakking about how annoying another student is, people yakked about how great it is to spend time in the prayer tower? ORU students can change the face of this app completely by simply being positive in their usage.

Right now, the majority of yakkers use negativity and offensive words, but it only takes positive people to turn that around. Offensive yaks will disappear after they receive five down-votes. This means that if enough people used the app with a positive attitude, offensive yakking could be a thing of the past.

The only way this issue will be solved is by waging an all-out war against cyber-bullying. The battle of yak is about to begin, who’s side are you on?

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