App popular among high schoolers draws warning from sheriff

By Josh Beavers

A popular social media app could spell trouble for students using it in local schools.

Webster Parish Sheriff Jason Parker reached out to the Webster Parish Journal in an effort to bring awareness to the “Yik Yak” app and potential bullying/harassing behavior being carried out digitally on the platform.

Yik Yak is a social message board that connects people with others anonymously within a five-mile radius.

“Basically, someone makes a statement and others within a five-mile radius who have the app can comment,” Sheriff Parker said. “Yik Yak is an app that can be visually observed on your kid’s phone. To download the app, you have to put in your cell phone number to verify.”

When a person puts in a cell phone number, that can be subpoenaed by law enforcement or civil attorneys.

“It can be used to be a positive networking tool in the community, but what we are seeing is negative, harassing and vulgar comments made about students which could be considered ‘cyberstalking,’” Parker said. “If convicted of cyberstalking you could be fined up to $2,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.”

The sheriff said parents can help by checking the phones of their children or the app and educating young people on the consequences of their actions on the Internet.

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