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Technology is not a threat; How we use it can be

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="410"] Courtesy of Yik Yak's Twitter page[/caption] Earlier this week, students checked their phones, laptops and various devices to find a Pirate Alert email warning of a threat made on the anonymous social media app, Yik Yak. According to the alert released by The Department of Public Safety Tuesday, Sept. 15, the Department was notified that an individual “made an implied threat that warned people not to go to the cafeteria at 12:25 PM today or they would ‘regret it.’” The South Orange Police Department was notified, and the Essex County Bomb Squad swept the premises that morning for any suspicious activity. Authorities took this threat very seriously and they quickly found out the poster was a juvenile’s and was not a Seton Hall student; however, this situation highlights the immense potential of social media, where one person armed with technology has the power to clear an entire university cafeteria with a single post. Apps like Yik Yak create a medium for people to act irresponsibly. People do not seem to realize that the same legal and moral standards apply online as they do in person. In this case, the user was not charged with any crime. Yik Yak’s official website describes their purpose as “a live feed of what everyone’s saying around you.” The website and mobile application allows a con stant stream of anonymous posting sorted by location, specifically college campuses. Seton Hall is just one among many universities facing recent threats delivered through social media, specifically Yik Yak. According to ABC News, two threats were made this month at universities in Florida. At Florida Atlantic University, an anonymous user threatened to open fire in the middle of campus, and a week earlier a similar threat was made at the University of Florida in Tampa. In both cases the person who created the post was found in a matter of hours. Despite being the platform that raised the threat, technology is a tool that aided authorities in Florida and at SHU in keeping students informed. It’s not technology that’s the problem; it’s how we use it. Apps like Yik Yak have the power to perform in a positive way if people act responsibly with the power that it gives them.


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