The Yellow App, which has now been rebranded as Yubo, is a hugely popular social networking app designed for teens. While it markets itself as simply being a way to “make new friends and chat with them” it has been at the centre of some truly alarming claims regarding online grooming and unwanted sexual solicitation.
|Features For Parental Caution:
What Parents Should Know About the Yellow App:
The Yellow App/Yubo is a hugely popular social networking app that connects millions of teenagers and young adults throughout the world. It has a similar functionality to Tinder, as members become friends by swiping right on the profiles of people that they want to become friends with.
There is a minimum age limit of 13 and anyone who is under 17 needs to verify that they have parental permission to be using the Yellow app. Under 18’s will be added to a community of other under 18’s and unable to make contact with adults on the app. However, the inbuilt age verification is virtually non-existent, making it alarmingly easy for children to circumvent the age restrictions.
This is worrying, given that there have been reports of children being coerced by other users into sending nude images, receiving unsolicited nudes, and feeling pressured to engage in sexually explicit sexual conversation via the Yellow app messaging function. There have also been multiple cases of children being targeted by online groomers through the immensely popular social networking site.
“What parents need to understand is that if there is an app that is going to be popular with children, that doesn’t have good blocking and safety mechanisms, then predators are going to go there.” – Susan McLean, cyber safety expert and former police officer.
How The Yellow App Works:
The Yellow app is free to download. To create a profile, users need to provide their phone number, real name, gender, date of birth, location, and a “real photo that shows their face”. Members are able to choose who they want to connect with; boys, girls, or both.
According to the Apple Play Store, Yubo is an easy and free way to make new chat friends. “Friendship is going to the next level! It’s like being in a party and meeting cool people every 10 seconds.”
Users can set up an account and start using the app by following the four steps listed below:
- FRIENDS: Add people you like in lives, swipes and group chats.
- LIVE VIDEO: Create live video rooms with up to 4 friends and an unlimited number of watchers
- GROUP VIDEO CHAT: Make group chats with your best friends
- PROFILE: Create an emoji profile and add your best pictures from Snapchat and Instagram!
The Yellow app comes with relatively high risk for relatively little reward; there’s no educational value to it, and despite being an app designed to encourage friendship-making-skills, Yubo doesn’t foster a particularly positive social culture.
Social networking sites can be invaluable in both forming and maintaining new friendships, but relationships that are premised on something as arbitrary as a photo aren’t necessarily the ones we should be encouraging our children to cultivate.
If your teen expresses an interest in getting the Yellow app, or Yubo as it’s now known, it’s a good time to discuss some key aspects of online safety. You may want to ask them what information they feel is and isn’t appropriate to share online.
If you feel it’s appropriate (and likely to receive an honest answer) you may also want to ask your teen if anyone they know has ever been sent or asked to send an inappropriate picture. Bear in mind that teens are more likely to be more forthcoming if you avoid being judgmental or interrogative.
Sadly, Yubo is not the only app that can be used as a tool by sexual predators. If your child has a smartphone, we highly recommend taking the time to understand the stages of online grooming so that you can proactively manage risk and help to keep them educated and safe.