The words tweet, filter and selfie have become a part of our kids' everyday lingo. A day doesn't go by when they, or anyone else, isn't plugged into social media to see what is happening with everyone else's lives. You can find out everything about a person through their social media sites- their relationship status, where they went for their last vacation or even their favorite place to hang out on the weekends.
Nothing can be kept a secret on social media. In fact, the whole point of social media is to post things and for the whole world to know that you were the one that posted it. Sometimes, social media can be seen as just a show. Kids post pictures of every activity they do in an entire day. At a friend's house? Take a picture. On a date? Take a picture. Essentially, social media has become a constant competition of one person's life to everyone else's.
Entrepreneurs all over the world took a look at this booming social media market and recognized a huge flaw: No one can truly express how they feel. The competition of social media has driven kids to appear as though they have these seemingly perfect lives on their profiles. They are required to have lots of friends or followers and keep up with the social media trends; otherwise they are viewed differently by their peers. As a result, these entrepreneurs started up a new category in the app market called "anti-social media." This puts an emphasis on anonymity and the idea of no personal profile. These apps also encourage the avoidance of people all together.
The founders of apps such as Cloak, Secret, Whisper, SnapChat and Yik Yak are hoping that people don't feel the constraints of social media and are instead able to say and post whatever they want. While this sounds great and may encourage individualism, it also poses a huge problem to our kids. There are enough problems with social media, and now you want to add a new realm of issues to that with anti-social media? The anti-social media app creators' answer: Yes and no.
While the founders of these anti-social sites have the best intentions in mind, their apps have arguably caused more harm than good so far. Yik Yak, for example, is basically a chat room open to anyone with the app. There are no usernames, no profiles and no inhibitions when it comes to posting. Originally intended for college kids, it was meant to be used as a way to connect with all kinds of different people on campus and a quick way to spread news.
While some college students may be using the app for its intended purpose, most of the users are high school kids. Yik Yak is now primarily being used as a virtual gossip column, where immature kids post slanderous and cruel things about other students. After hearing about this, the founders of Yik Yak have disabled the use of the app in all school zones that were seeing a cyberbullying issue with the app. Yik Yak is having a bigger issue keeping up with the demand of disabling the app than they are with having success.
It's always important to be informed about the latest social media trends so that you know what to talk to your kids about. In this particular case, ensuring that your child is not being cyberbullied or the one doing the cyberbullying is of the upmost importance. The anti-social media apps will continue to increase in popularity with all ages, which makes your child susceptible to a whole new world of media that has proven to be problematic.