Yik Yak … Yuck {Notes from an Overprotective Mom}

Yik Yak ... Yuck {Notes from an Overprotective Mom}

Yik Yak ... Yuck! Notes from an Overprotective Mom

Three days ago I heard about Yik Yak because I am one of “those moms.” You know, the ones who monitor my child’s phone and social media and online activity. I downloaded the app to see what it contained and I was horrified by the language and attitudes displayed. I wasn’t surprised that students in my daughter’s high school cussed and were disrespectful of teachers. I wasn’t even shocked at the graphic nature of “yaks” about sexual acts. Let’s face it, all of that is on prime time television and in the music on popular radio.

As I sat at my dining room table in tears, I prayed for the girls who were named as THOTs {a slang word I had to look up but is basically another word for slut}. Other students were mocked for their ethnicity and alleged sexual preferences. Teachers and school administrators were discussed and one of the yaks asked, “Which teacher would you bang?”

I’m not going to say this same type of thing doesn’t happen offline … but the biggest difference between a group of kids sitting around talking and putting this sort of thing on Yik Yak is the perceived anonymity. Because they don’t have their names attached to what they say, it  feels like it’s safe. And it’s a lot easier to take it farther.

At church Wednesday night I walked into a room full of students and said, “Anyone here on Yik Yak?” Almost all of them said, “Not anymore.” And one asked me if I was going to talk about it with the moms in my Bible study that night. When I said I absolutely was, kids decided they better warn others. Most of the students in the room said they’d deleted it because it got so bad, so fast. But they also said they thought some of what was on there was funny.

Honestly, some of the comments and threads were just silly — but the overwhelming majority of what I read was vile.  In fact, these verses basically describe what was there:

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. {Galatians 5:19-21}

Here’s the bottom line for me:

That kind of junk doesn’t belong in the life {or on the phone!} of anyone who claims to follow Christ. Period.

Probably there will be some who think I’m being judgmental or harsh. But isn’t there a point when we say enough? Isn’t there a time when it all goes too far and we stand up and say, “As a disciple of Christ, that is not for me”? I shared with my Bible study group the standard I use and what I hold my daughter to in terms of social media.  It might sound familiar:

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, thing about these things.  {Philippians 4:8}

Yes, we’re all going to fail. I do it every. single. day. So does my daughter. So does my husband. We. All. Do. But just because we fall doesn’t mean we stay in the muck. And if we never set a biblical standard for ourselves and for our children, we’ll be far more likely to believe the junk of this world is acceptable.

So, yeah, I’m overprotective. Yes, I read every text. Yes, I check all the apps {and delete the ones she can’t have or she breaks the guidelines we’ve established}. Yes, I have her phone more than she does. And yes, there are those who swear she’ll be the most rebellious child ever when she finally gets out of our home.

But you know what, it’s a chance I’m willing to take. I pray for wisdom and direction in guiding her toward the Lord and I’m going to answer for what I’ve done with what I had and what I know. And I know this, children are a gift from God {Psalm 127:3} and I’m not about to shortchange the gift He gave me of being her mom by giving her freedoms she isn’t mature enough to manage. I’ll do all I can to protect her heart and her reputation.  Because one day she will leave our home and it will be just fine with me if the only baggage she has is the Vera Bradley we’ve bought her.

xo,

Teri Lynne

How do you handle social media with your kids? {And for yourself??}

You can definitely expect to read more about social media and apps around here. I feel like this is one of the biggest parenting issues we face. Our kids have never lived without access to an online world. And we need to encourage and support each other as we learn to navigate a world where we are always behind.  Here are few articles I read with great information about apps like Yik Yak.

And specifically about Yik Yak, which was the app used to make a bomb threat against my daughter’s school and another school in our county in 2015, there is also great concern about bullying.

  • And yet, of all the anonymous apps and Web sites promising safe spaces for users to spill their souls, perhaps none has proved so consistently problematic — so apparently irredeemable — as Yik Yak, the scourge of campuses from California to Concord, N.H. In the past week alone, more than a dozen high schools and universities have had high-profile incidents with the app. ~ How Do You Solve a Problem Like Yik Yak? {from The Washington Post}
  • “Cyberbullying has already occurred,” Superintendent Adam Bird said. “Many disparaging, ugly, vulgar comments are being made about students and staff using Yik Yak.” ~ Student Arrested after Social Media Threat {from The Clermont Sun}
  • “I am all about open dialogue. I am a promoter of conversation and honest perceptions. But discussion hidden behind anonymity builds more conflict than conversation, erects more walls than bridges. Barbed comments without naming the source or without the context of listening do far more damage than good.” ~ The Offense of Anonymity {from The Biola University Chimes}
  • Most recently, in Connecticut, parents received a message from Fairfield Public Schools warning them that Yik Yak was “creating opportunities for mean-spirited, bullying behavior” at some of its schools. “Upon researching this we have learned that Yik Yak has been causing many issues at middle schools, high schools, and colleges around the country,” the message read. “The issues range from bullying behavior, racial harassment, sexual harassment, to bomb threats and threats of physical violence.” ~ Messaging App Yik Yak Causing Bullying Concerns at Some Schools {from Fox News}

2 Replies to “Yik Yak … Yuck {Notes from an Overprotective Mom}”

  1. That’s not an app that I had heard of before but I’ll definitely know to avoid it if one of my girls asks for it. I do monitor my kids’ online activity because it’s my job to train them up and they don’t sprout from the womb already knowing how to navigate the online minefield. It’s my job to teach them. So I’m right there with you. My girls are 13 and 10, which is too young to be online unrestrained anyway. I have an older daughter who is 26 and I unapologetically tell you that if she left notes from her friends laying around the house, I read them. Cell phones weren’t in every kid’s hand back then, so they had to put their “texts” on actual paper. 😉 She knew I was watching over her and while it might have made her resentful every once in a while, she also knew it was for her own protection and it was done out of love.

  2. anon christian mom says: Reply

    I would definitely recommend moms download yik yak and check it out. It can be very eye opening! I was shocked at the content as well. Especially because it is mostly used by college students and it’s A LOT of sex talk. There is definitely some bullying/gossiping going on there as well, even though that is against the terms of service. I would not allow younger children (middle schoolers) on it at all. High schoolers can be harder to limit. But at least if you check it out, you know what is going on. I personally go on yik yak and anonymously comfort kids who are hurting on there. There is a girl right now who is pregnant and seeking advice. I’m careful what I post – they don’t know it’s a mom. So I understand your point about it being vile, but I would encourage the parents to get first-hand knowledge of these things by downloading it and checking it out yourself, because it makes you a better parent.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge