Yubo, formerly Yellow, is a social media app encouraging teens to find new friends on Instagram by allowing them to swipe left or right to connect and live stream.
With over 15 million users, some called it ‘Tinder for Teens when it first launched due to the lack of safety features on the app that raised concerns.
However, since then there have been a lot of changes to the app to make it safer for teens to use safely. The makers of the app have also invested time in creating safety guides for both teens and parents to help them learn how to stay safe on the app.
Here’s what you need to know about the app to keep kids safe.
What is Yubo?
Yubo is a social media app available for Apple and Android smartphones.
Who is using it?
It’s growing in popularity among school-age teens who use it to chat and send pictures to friends and strangers on Instagram.
How it works
The app allows people to connect with others based on their location, with users ‘swiping’ to accept or decline to talk to someone based on their profile picture. It is linked to photo-sharing app Instagram.
If you swipe right on a person who has swiped right on your profile, you can then chat and automatically follow them on Instagram. This means that they can begin sending each other photos right away — even if they don’t know each other.
Users can instant message friends on a one to one basis or within a group. There is an option to live stream in a group chat with friends, however, this can still be seen by others. Also, those watching the the video can easily be added as friends.
What are the safety concerns?
Age restrictions and privacy – Like Instagram and Snapchat, the app is rated 12+. However, it is important to note that if you enter a birthday under 13 your child will get a message to say ‘Sorry, it looks like you’re not eligible for Yubo…but thanks for checking us out’. So there is the potential that they could go back in and enter a false date to access the app.
Sharing location – Although you don’t need to share your location to use the app, it is an integral part of the way the app is used. If you have locations enabled you can find friends nearby. Your location is then shown to other potential ‘friends’ along with your name and age.
Inappropriate content – Although the app is rated 12+ (in App store) anyone can sign up and post inappropriate content that breaks Yubo’s community guidelines. So, it is important to talk to children about what they may come across on the app and how to report it.
Live streaming – You can ‘Go live’ during a chat with up to 4 friends on Yubo. This option allows anyone to see the live broadcast and send messages, not just their friends. You can also choose whether to add viewers as new friends. To help children avoid sharing too much with this feature, talk to them about how to live stream safely. See our expert tips on live streaming for support.
What are the safety features on the app?
Managing who they talk to on the app & privacy
Yubo has created a separate community for 13 – 17-year-olds and adults to make sure that children are not speaking to adults.
You can restrict who can talk to you, by choosing either ‘Boys’, ‘Girls’ or ‘Boys & Girls’.
Choose to hide location by selecting ‘Hide my city’ to keep their location private.
There is an option to restrict friends to find them on the app using their mobile number.
If their location is enabled you can change distance settings on the profile to meet friends within a certain area – either local or going global.
To prevent fake accounts being created, when setting up an account you have to enter your mobile phone number and verify it on your phone (like Whatsapp).
Yubo uses a number of tech tools to remove inappropriate content that breaks community guidelines and remove fake profiles.
What can you do to protect your child?
If your child is using the app or wants to start, talk to them about the potential risks and what they hope to gain from it.
Also, consider whether your child is emotionally mature to be exposed to the kind of content that may be posted on the app.
Advise them to be careful about what personal information they are sharing and the potential risks of sharing too much with a potential stranger.
Take some time to go through Yubo’s community guidelines so you and your child are aware of what is allowed on the platform and what is not: community.yellw.co
How to report if something goes wrong on the app
If you’d like to report anything that your child has found distressing on the app, you can visit Yubo’s safety centre and report it: safety.yellw.co
On the app, you can report inappropriate photos or profiles by clicking the flag button in the top left corner of the relevant profile.
Yubo has created a comprehensive parent’s guide to learn more about the features of the app and how to keep your child safe on the app.
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