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School Officials Crack Down On Yik Yak Messaging App After Threat In New Jersey

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RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Several school administrators in the Tri-State Area have decided to ban the popular app Yik Yak, after it led to threats of violence at a New Jersey high school.

As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, administrators also have been warning parents about the dangers posed by the app.

Yik Yak is a virtual bulletin board that allows anonymous posts about anything under the sun – and anybody within a 1.5-mile radius can log on and see it.

But some posts are laced with profanity and hate, and it is beginning to cause problems at schools.

“The app sort of brings out the worst in what we fear with the environment that our children sometimes get themselves into,” said parent Allistair Linton.

Linton has two sons who go to Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, N.J.

Just last week, the school called police after someone posted a gun threat on Yik Yak. Police arrested the person who posted it.

But the superintendent of the school still took action, sending out letters to parents saying: “Yik Yak is a good example of how technology apps, while often developed for positive purposes, can also be used to hurt others and cause disruption.”

Some students agreed that the app caused major problems in high school.

“I think the app was, like, made more for college and, like, the intentions of it were good, and I think the high schoolers just turned it into an evil thing; to say mean things,” said Julia Sullivan.

Yik Yak has already disabled the app at thousands of high schools across the country, including at Ridgewood High School. When users try to get on the app, it says: “It looks like you are using this at a high school or middle school, which is not allowed. Sending and reading messages is disabled.”

Yik Yak responded to the recent threat at Ridgewood High School.

“We are aware of the ongoing abuse of Yik Yak by some middle school and high school students, and we are dedicated to working with parents and school administrators to ensure this misuse stops,” said the statement by co-founders Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington.

Yik Yak has previously grabbed the headlines with controversy elsewhere in the country.

In the Chicago area, taunting became so bad in recent months that schools there threatened disciplinary action against kids using Yik Yak to bully others. The developers of Yik Yak disabled the app altogether in the Chicago area earlier this year, as it studied safeguards to keep minors from using it, WBBM-TV, CBS 2 Chicago reported.

Yik Yak was supposed to be a virtual “bulletin board” for college students, the Yik-Yak founders told WBBM Newsradio in Chicago in March.

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