How Training Learned From “Yik Yak” Will Help You Address The Following Novel Social Networking Bullying Trend

The large news in education technology now is Yik Yak, a totally free, anonymous social media application that enables customers to publish comments that may be seen by others inside a 5- to 10-mile radius. The application was meant for use by university students and is identified as a localized Twitter for campus towns. However the anonymity from the application enables customers to bully others with no chance of identification, and it has brought to reviews of severe bullying in schools across the nation. Because the Chicago Tribune reported, Yik Yak disabled its application within chicago after four or five schools needed to address bullying concerns around the application using their students and fogeys.

One comment which has frequently occurred concerning the recent Yik Yak scandal is it shows how rapidly social networking moves and just how difficult it’s for college managers to deal with new issues once they arise. For example, the Yik Yak application only grew to become popular in the last couple of several weeks and thus wasn’t banned in lots of schools just before these recent occurrences. And even when banned and blocked via a school’s internet filters, if your school district enables students to gain access to data intentions of personal technology products in school they still have access to the application regardless of the filters and without school authorities knowing.

The issue arises, then: So what can school leaders do in order to put themselves within the best position to cope with novel social networking and technology issues once they arise? Listed here are a couple of ideas:

  1. In student handbooks or other informal guidelines, consider specifically banning student use of any social media program or other technology on school grounds or at school-related events and activities for the purpose of bullying other students. Also consider banning such use anywhere if it causes or reasonably could be foreseen to cause a material and substantial disruption to the school environment or invasion of rights of others in the school community. This way, discipline of perpetrators will be allowed even if a new program or technology used for bullying (such as Yik Yak) is not specifically prohibited and, if it is serious enough, even if it occurs off grounds.
  2. Also consider banning student use of data plans on personal technology devices at school. This will limit the circumstances when students can avoid a filter or other screening technology when implemented. It also allows school leaders to monitor student use of websites and technology through the Internet system, which is not possible when a student uses their own data plan.
  3. Educate students, parents, and other members of the school community about the harms that arise from bullying before an incident occurs. Such education should be broad enough to cover types of behavior that are now known or that may occur in the future. Your legal counsel is a good resource for training that meets these needs.
  4. Ensure that technology policies and procedures are up-to-date and broad enough to put the school district in the best position to address novel misconduct by students, staff, and other members of the school district community when it occurs. For school districts in Illinois, Franczek Radelet has a recent technology policy package created for that purpose.