Yubo – Make new friends (Rated 17+)
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.
It’s not uncommon for kids struggling with their emotions to look for support from a stranger they think understands them. A parent shared their child’s experience on Common Sense Media’s review of Yubo:
“My 14-year-old adopted daughter, who suffers from PTSD, met other mentally ill kids on this website. She is suffering from 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 are, or their mental health profile.”
A Yubo user can browse other users’ profiles, swiping left to pass or right to “like” them. Users who like each other’s profiles can chat. This app is being called “Tinder for teens.”
The app’s terms state users must be over 13 years old, but it’s easy to fudge the date. A child on this app could chat with an adult pretending to be a teenager. Even the app realizes this is a potentially dangerous situation. Upon registration, the app presents users with a teen safety guide; it also sends the information via text message and reminds users frequently about posting appropriate content.
The app encourages users to enable their phones’ location services. However, you can hide your city, limiting people’s ability to find you. The app has a built-in barrier to limit profile views by users’ reported age, but 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 to 25.) Further, the Live video chat feature lets anyone aged 13 to 25 join.
The app does not proactively shut down accounts that violate their user agreement. The app developers wait for users to flag a statement as “a problem” and remove it. A casual search on Yubo using the typical inappropriate phrases will find substance use, profanity, racial slurs, and scantily clad people.
Lastly, Yubo links to Snapchat. Yubo funnels stranger interaction and relationships to Snapchat, a popular app used for sexting.
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 chat with an adult pretending to be a teenager. Even the app realizes this is a potentially dangerous situation because, upon registration, it presents users with a teen safety guide; it also sends the information 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, hide your city, which may help limit people’s ability to find you. The app has a built-in barrier to limit profile views by users’ reported age, but 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 aged 13 to 25 join.
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 or group of persons by their origin, sex, sexual orientation or identity, or disability;
- Distribution of messages of a violent or pornographic nature, or which constitute an affront to human dignity, or which encourage minors to participate in games that may place them in physical danger accessible to children, 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.
Under no circumstances should a child have this app.
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 your concern 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 use social media to exploit children.
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 through this process and implement a complete cyber safety plan for your family.
Unlock a Safer Digital World with Cyber Safety Plus
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Where other apps’ safety and inappropriate content filters fail, you can utilize Bark! With the best parental control and notification app for mobile devices, monitoring your child’s app activity has become much more manageable. When installing, use the promo code “cybersafetycop” to get 15% off the entire duration of your subscription!
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