14 News Special Report: Social Media Task Force - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

14 News Special Report: Social Media Task Force

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(WFIE) -

14 News has always been the first to warn you of social media secrets your kids may be hiding. Now we hear teens have a new way of staying anonymous when chatting with their friends and even strangers.

Back in November, we warned parents of Ask FM, a site reported to have several cases of bullying. Now, there's a new app that is even more dangerous because of its features.

Almost as soon as the afternoon bell rings and school is over for the day, the online conversations begin.

"Drama! It's full of drama," student Caitlin Tinsley said. 

"People posting pictures about people and stuff. It happens a lot," said Caleb Miller, a student.

For many Tri-State students, that drama unfolds on two of the most popular social media apps, Instagram and Twitter. But, there's one some are looking to download because unlike the others, it has one very special feature. They can post whatever they want without anyone knowing who they are.

"People are going to be on there talking about people saying, 'Oh such and such did this,' and then they're going to remain anonymous. Nobody is going to know and it's going to cause a bunch of drama," Miller said.

The app is called Yik Yak and it's gaining steam across the country. Anyone can download it and post whatever that want and talk to whoever they want anonymously. It uses the phone's GPS and allows users called Yakkers who are within a certain distance to see the post and comment on it.

Most of the posts we saw in the Tri-State were about smoking weed. Many of them originating from the new North High School area. Even though the app's guidelines specifically state Yakkers are not allowed to bully or target other Yakkers, reports from across the country indicate it's happening.

"Kids can be cruel," parent Rebecca Fowler said.

When we told her about the app, she immediately became concerned that what happened to her daughter could happen to others teenagers who use this new app, possibly on a much larger scale due to the fact users can remain anonymous.  

She says her daughter, a middle schooler, has been bullied several times on social media. It all began, she says, when her daughter posted a selfie.

"This little girl that she had on her friend's list told her she was ratchet and she said, 'You're fugly. You're f-ing ugly,'" Fowler said. "No kid deserves to be put through that hurt and anguish."

She says she saw the comment, removed it and immediately blocked the person who wrote it. Something that cannot be done on anonymous apps like Yik Yak.

"I would never allow my son nor my daughter to download that app," Fowler told 14 News.

"It's almost like a trap, a fishing lure, if you will," said Vanderburgh County Chief Deputy, Dave Wedding.  

Wedding says the allure of these new apps are enticing to many teenagers, but just because the posts are anonymous doesn't mean if the conversation turns criminal, the user can't be investigated and charged.

"I think it's incumbent on the parent to have a nice chat with their kids and say, 'Look, even though you have this tool that allows you to talk to lots of people, I'm going to monitor it to make sure that you're not sending things you shouldn't be sending, you're not receiving things you shouldn't be receiving, and we're going to stick to that rule,'" Wedding said.

Just last week, two students in Florida were arrested for posting threats on the app. Authorities were able to track them down thanks to their phone's GPS.

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