What parents need to know about the app kids are calling the “Tinder for teens.”

What is the Yubo app?

Yubo (formerly Yellow – new corporate website: www.yubo.live) is a social media app for iOS and Android devices that lets users create a profile, share their location, and flip through images of other users in their area. You can either scroll through the current live streams or browse individual profiles by swiping Tinder-style – right on profiles you like and left on profiles you don’t. 

Why is this app so popular with teens?

Children feel the possibility of meeting someone new, making a new friend or confidant is extremely exciting to them. 

It’s not uncommon for kids who are struggling with their emotions to look for support from a total stranger that they think understands them. A parent shared their child’s experience on Common Sense Media’s review of Yubo: 

“My 14 yr old adopted daughter who suffers from PTSD met other mentally ill kids on this website. Now she is suffering new mental health symptoms and has had suicidal episodes. It’s not safe. you don’t know who your child is dealing with, how old they really are or their mental health profile.”

What are the problems?

The problems with Yubo or other apps like it are apparent. There is a reason everyone is calling this app “Tinder for teens.” A user can browse other users’ profiles, swiping left to pass or right to “like” them. Users who like each other’s profiles can chat. 

Opportunities to meet strangers and predators. Terms state that users must be over 13, but it’s easy to fudge the date. A child on this app could be chatting with an adult pretending to be a teenager. Even the app realizes this is a potentially dangerous situation because, upon registration, the app presents users with a teen safety guide; it also sends the information to users via text message and reminds users frequently about posting appropriate content. 

Privacy and oversharing issues. The app encourages users to enable their phones’ location services. You can, however, opt to hide your city, which may help to limit peoples’ ability to find you. The app has a built-in barrier to limit profile views by users’ reported age that doesn’t work. (It’s possible for instance, to create an account as a fifteen-year-old user and filter profile views to users ages 23-25) Further, the Live video chat feature lets anyone from age 13-25 to join.

Adult/Inappropriate content. The app does not proactively shut down accounts that violate their user agreement. The following is a list of banned content:

  • Distribution of images of child pornography;
  • Apology for or denial of crimes against humanity
  • Distribution of content promoting discrimination, hate or violence against a person group of persons by virtue of their origin, sex, sexual orientation or identity, or disability;
  • Distribution of message of a violent or pornographic nature, or which constitute an affront to human dignity, or which encourage minors to participate in games which may place them in physical danger accessible to minors, when this content is liable to be viewed or accessed by a minor;
  • Incitement to, or apology for terrorism;
  • Incitement to suicide.

The app developers are waiting for a user to flag an account as “a problem,” and then they will remove it. A casual search on Yubo using the typical inappropriate phrases will find substance use, profanity, racial slurs, and scantily clad people.

Should I Let My Child Use Yubo?

Our Assessment: Not Safe for Children

Under no circumstances should a child have this app.

Additional Recommendations:

Password Protected App Store

A password-protected App Store will stop your child from downloading Yubo or other problematic apps onto their devices without your permission and knowledge.  

Talk to Your Child and Filter Your Internet

Talk to your child about why you are concerned about talking to strangers or online adult content. Talking to your child about porn may sound overwhelming. We have an article that will help guide you through that conversation. Here is an article on how predators are using social media to exploit children.

You can filter the internet coming into your home with OpenDNS.com (free), CleanBrowsing (free), or your internet provider’s parental controls (paid service), or your router (free and paid).

Turn on Parental Controls

Turn on parental controls on all of your child’s devices. Our book, Parenting in the Digital World, will walk you step-by-step through this process as well as implementing a complete cyber safety plan for your family.

Monitor, Alert, and Protect with Bark

Install Bark, the best parental control/notification app available for mobile devices. Use the promo code “cybersafetycop” to get 15% off your subscription forever! (Bark does not monitor Yubo. Here is a complete list of what they do monitor).

Get Educated

Yubo is just the tip of the iceberg. Come to a free parent seminar and learn how to guide your child safely through their digital world. If you’d like to bring a Cyber Safety Cop instructor to your school or organization, contact us and we’ll get back to you right away.

*There are affiliate links throughout this post because we’ve tested and trust a small list of parental control solutions. Our work saves you time! If you decide that you agree with us, then we may earn a small commission, which does nothing to your price. Thank you!