After Yik Yak “fenced out” her daughter’s entire high school in southern California, Diana Graber of CyberWise.org did some investigating to find out how the app was blocking use in schools. What she found out is an example of digital citizenship on the part of an app developer (see this for an example from the funding part of the mobile ecosystem).
In “Yik Yak App Makers Do the Right Thing,” Graber writes that the app’s creators, two recent university graduates in South Carolina, first changed Yik Yak’s rating to 17+, then figured out how to build geo-fences around schools and bar student use, using the same GPS technology that allows the app to create location-based “chatrooms” with 5-mile radiuses.
“Once they saw this worked [blocking users school by school], the Yik Yak team conducted a Google search to look for a company that could help them geo-fence middle and high schools across the country,” Graber writes. They found a company, Vermont-based Maponics, which had the location data that could help Yik Yak’s creators geo-fence off “nearly 85% of the US high school population,” she adds. Please see Graber’s article in the Huffington Post for more, and here is my post on “How Yik Yak is different from other social media,” published in March.
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Mobile computing is quickly becoming involved in nearly every aspect of our lives. How we find directions, how we pay for goods, how we get our news, how we socially interconnect with others, and also as a verification of who we are, and nowhere is this more evident than in today’s high-tech colleges. Students and faculty are both using mobile smart phone and mobile computing applications around campus.
They serve as virtual credit cards, and identification for getting into dorm rooms, cafeterias, and secured areas on campus. These are both safety features, and convenience factors. Also, businesses that cater to college students can use such virtual ID systems to allow the students to get into concerts, exhibits, and sporting events – sometimes free of charge, and other times their virtual ID system will bill their college account.