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Friday, June 21
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

To yik yak or not to yik yak

We text, we tweet, we Snapchat. Now, we also yik and occasionally, we yak.

For those less aware of the newest popular social media app, Yik Yak, let me enlighten you.

Yik Yak is a free app that allows users to post “yaks,” or comments, only viewable to others within a 1.5-mile radius.

Added bonus: they are also anonymous.

While Yik Yak can be an amusing diversion from research papers, what happens when it is used for something other than ?entertainment?

Last weekend a 20-year-old Pennsylvania State University student posted a threatening message on the social media app claiming he would bring assault rifles to the main campus and “shoot everyone in the hub at 12:00” the following Monday.

The post was quickly taken down. The student was identified and taken into custody.

He was charged with ?misdemeanor counts of terroristic threats and disorderly conduct.

According to police, the culprit claimed it was merely a prank.

Threatening violence to a college campus is never a joke.

It is a serious crime and a disturbing attempt to get attention. It inflicts unnecessary fear and induces panic across an entire campus. One is foolish to believe one won’t get caught.

During my senior year of high school, campus was shut down for three days after a series of violent bomb threats were sent to the school.

Specific faculty members were even targeted. I initially assumed it was a joke, but after the third cancellation and worsening threats, I was legitimately terrified for my safety.

It was later discovered that the people responsible simply wanted to see if they could shut the school down for a week.

I was infuriated.

These “pranks” can never be taken lightly. In the case of Penn State, it was absolutely right to bring charges against this person.

Unfortunately, our country has seen an appalling number of actual acts of school violence in the past few years.

Former Purdue University student Cody Cousins recently received a 65-year prison sentence for fatally stabbing and shooting a classmate in January.

While the number of cases of violence has been relatively low on campus, IU certainly has had its fair share of misbehavior on social media sites, especially Yik Yak.

Some of us may also be familiar with the IU Confessions Facebook page, where slamming other students is almost expected.

On Yik Yak, we can vent about our roommates’ bizarre eating habits or our nonexistent love life.

We can make endless SpongeBob references or even give some helpful ?advice to fellow Hoosiers. Don’t even get me started on the squirrel jokes.

However, we should never use it to hurt another human being, despite our anonymity. And we shouldn’t use it to scare people, no matter how funny it seems at the time.

I’ve seen gay and racial slurs and sexist and hateful comments. We need to stop bashing each other simply because we can get away with it.

Half of what we post on social media, anonymous or not, we would never say to someone in person.

We need to learn to be smart about how we use ?social media.

Otherwise, it may come back to haunt us one day.

So let’s keep it up with those squirrel jokes, and drop the negativity.

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