Yubo (formerly known as ‘Yellow’) is a new social app for teenagers. The app has had over a million monthly users in Australia, and is one of the most popular apps downloaded by teens and pre-teens. Despite its success, it seems the developers have made some frighteningly poor decisions when it comes to the privacy of its users.
Made for children as young as 12, the app allows users to meet strangers in their local area. In fact, it’s functionality and design is so similar to the adult dating app Tinder, that many have taken to calling it ‘Tinder for teens’. As Yubo describes itself on iTunes:
“Yubo is a social app to meet new friends and have fun with them. Friendship is going to the next level! It’s like being in a party and meeting cool people every 10 seconds.”
Why anyone thought 12 year olds needed something like this truly boggles the mind.
Not content with simply introducing small children to nearby strangers, the app takes things a step further, and allows users to live-stream footage of themselves to the world. This footage is not monitored or moderated, meaning users can be exposed to anything. Even more disturbingly, there have been numerous reports of teens being pressured into undressing live on camera for strangers.
Even though the app is made and marketed for teens, there are many adults using it – often posing as teens themselves. Anyone can create an account, and there is no identity verification. This means children younger than 12 are easily able to lie about their age to gain access, and adults are easily able to pose as teens to meet minors. Obviously without the best intentions.
The app also links directly to Snapchat and Instagram – two other popular social media applications. This gives predators quick access to Yubo’s users’ other social media accounts, which could reveal further identifying information.
It’s popularity with Aussie teens means the children in your care could be using Yubo. We strongly recommend asking if they have the application installed, and sitting down and discussing the risks with them.
If it turns out they have installed the application, don’t assume the worst. Kids are curious, and they may have created an account for perfectly innocent reasons. However, with such inherent dangers, we strongly recommend you ask them to cease using the app entirely.
Management software such as Family Zone can prevent this and other high risk apps being downloaded in the first place and also notify the parent if an attempt to download was made.