Anonymity of Students in Social Media

With the ability to be anonymous on social media, students feel more confident in releasing their hate and negativity without realizing its repercussions.

Yik Yak is an app that allows students, in colleges and universities only, to anonymously post to everyone within a 10-mile radius; it is similar to Twitter, only there is no need of an account. It has rapidly become successful among many universities around the world.

Casey Fabris discusses the issue of Yik Yak and how it has developed into cyberbullying- including sexual insults towards female professors. Many students use the app to release their frustration towards their classes, professors, other students, and university life in general. However, because the app allows everyone in the area to view what others are posting, professors are able to see students’ rants against them as well.

(Photo credit: Shutterstock and Twitter)

Professors have admitted to being emotionally affected to at least a slight degree from reading various posts. Colleges are trying to find more constructive outlets for professor evaluations. eXplorance believes that its new service, Bluepulse will be a more positive version of Yik Yak since it will have both students and instructors involved. It is uncertain, however, whether this will stop students from posting hateful comments on Yik Yak.

Another similar service that Sabrina Huyett, a teaching assistant at Birmingham Young University, uses is DropThought. She believes that “giving students an outlet where they can constructively criticize might prevent them from airing grievances negatively on platforms like Yik Yak.” Huyett admits that the larger the classes, the more likely there will be negative criticisms.

David Parry, an associate professor at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, explains that even if new platforms are developed for student’s feedback, it will not stop them from using Yik Yak. What needs to be done, instead of trying to move students away from a specific social media platform, is for colleges to teach students how to use social media responsibly.

Fabris, Casey. “Anonymous Feedback, Fine. Insults? Not on These Platforms.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. N.p., 04 Feb. 2015. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.