Yik Yak- Find Your Herd (Rated 17+, Social Networking)

The YikYak app allows users to connect with everyone within 5 miles anonymously. This app was first introduced in 2013, and again, it re-entered the genre in 2021. This is an iOS application that lets users create and view various discussion threads within a 5-mile radius.

Why Does This App Get People’s Attention?

Yik Yak is location-based, which sets it apart from other anonymous texting services. App users can share and learn what people are talking about within a 5-mile radius by combining GPS and instant messaging capabilities. For this reason, the app has grown to be a particularly well-liked source of rumors and news on college campuses.

What Else Should Parents Know About The App?

Troubled History As A Hub Of Cyberbullying

Due to Yik Yak’s anonymity, users had no trouble posting offensive, harmful, and racist information. Several schools and colleges in the US attempted to outlaw the use of the app or phones on the property. There were worries about cyberbullying. These organizations advised parents to ensure the app wasn’t on their kids’ phones.

Voting system

Users can upvote as well as downvote other users/Yaks. They can upvote the users they like and downvote the users they don’t like. The “hot” stream consists of the Yaks that have received the most upvotes. A Yak is immediately eliminated from the Livestream if it obtains a score of -5 from being downvoted.

Leaderboard-Like Rating System For Users

Users who use profile pictures and post the most popular Yaks will be rewarded with Yakarma points. This adds a gaming vibe to the application. To check the Yakarma score, tap on the option in the top left corner.

Anonymity, Aside From Geolocation

Yik Yak’s anonymity is one of its main selling features, as it does not collect users’ names, email addresses, or other sensitive information. However, it does keep track of users’ app activity and geolocation. Yaks are sent anonymously, but the location will be tracked.

Parental Controls

The Yik Yak app does not feature parental controls.

Potential Problems

Positive Reinforcement Leaderboard System For Users

Leaderboard systems, or other competitive point systems, can create a drive within children or teens to reach the top that can begin to consume their time. Combining curious content with the ability to respond “better” than someone else can keep users constantly checking their status and returning to keep up on conversations without them.

Dangers of Such Heavy Geolocation Tracking

While your child’s or teen’s name and other identity markers are not prohibited with Yik Yak, geolocation depends on using the app as intended. This can still threaten predatory behavior from strangers who can monitor a user’s activity on the app for trends.

Additionally, YikYak is designed for users to connect with people within a 5-mile radius, so any watching happening is most likely happening relatively close to your home (or wherever your child or teen may be using the app from.)


Considering the local interactions aspect of this app, I do not recommend that your child or teen use the YikYak app. With so many safer ways to communicate with people nearby (that you approve for your child or teen to be around) without revealing your location, it doesn’t seem to outweigh the risk.

The new version of YikYak is proving to be much more diligent at handling abusive content or cyberbullying. But being a parent, you should always keep a close eye on app usage.

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About the Author

Clayton Cranford
Clayton Cranford is a retired Sergeant from Orange County Sheriff's Department in California and owner of Total Safety Solutions LLC. Clayton is one of the nation’s leading law enforcement educators on social media, child safety, and behavioral threat assessments. Clayton is the author of the definitive book on cyber safety for families, “Parenting in the Digital World.” Clayton has more than 20 years of teaching experience and was awarded the 2015 National Bullying Prevention Award from the School Safety Advocacy Council, and the 2015 American Legion Medal of Merit. Clayton was a member of the County's Behavioral Threat Assessment Team, Crisis Negotiation Team, School Resource Officer program, and Juvenile Bureau.