What in the world is Yik Yak, Burnbook, Kik and Tinder?

Posted on: November 9, 2015
Tags: SocialMedia, ParentsBeware, Adolescents

What in the world is Yik Yak, Burnbook, Kik and Tinder?

By: Katie Peace

If you were to ask adolescents this question they would more than likely know the answer, but would parents know? Should they know? Below are the details for you to decide if you deem it appropriate to spread the word about these trending apps. My hopes are that you will find this extremely educational and worthy of numerous conversations with your adolescents.

Yik Yak is an anonymous social media app that was launched in 2013. This app allows its users to anonymously, and again I repeat, ANONYMOUSLY create and view “Yaks” within a 5 mile radius. Others who also have the app downloaded onto their phone can contribute to the content by writing, responding and voting (up or down) “Yaks.” This app most certainly targets college campuses as their go-to source for news and gossip. Just because the app targets college age students, doesn’t mean that that is the only population that is using the app. Tweens and teens are also using this app as a way of cyber bullying. After all, it has been dubbed as a digital "bathroom stall wall."

BurnBook is the latest anonymous app for posting text, photos and audio rumor messages about others. This app is very similar to Yik Yak in that it gives users a platform to post anonymous blurbs and vote for them. However unlike other anonymous social apps, BurnBook is all about conversations within communities. What this means is that in order to use the app, it mandates that location services be enabled so that it can identify your geographic area. From there, users choose from a list of nearby communities, most likely selecting their own middle and high schools, and then narrow down results to pages just about their classmates (or themselves).

Kik is a free mobile messenger app that allows the users of the app to text others. This app also makes it easy to add videos and pictures to a text. The potential threats to safety arises when adolescents begin to take their privacy casually and start sharing their private Kik username on public social networks such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. This opens to the door for anyone to send them a message on Kik.

Tinder is an online dating app. Using the users already active Facebook account, the Tinder app is able to link the two apps together to build a user profile with photos that have already been uploaded. Candidates are most likely to be compatible based on the criteria of geographic location, number of mutual friends and common interests. Based on the results of potential candidates from this criteria, the app allows the user to anonymously like another user by swiping right on their profile. If two users both swipe right on each other’s profiles, then that results in a "match” and they are then able to chat within the app. This geographic matching is especially concerning, because adolescents could potentially be connecting with people in their local area who may be pretending to be another adolescent.

This is eye-opening, huh? I challenge you to spread the word for parents and guardians to have these apps (along with the MANY other apps that are very similar to them) on their radar!