Yellow social media app – what parents need to know

By Internet Matters Team on

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 have called it ‘Tinder for Teens’ and its lack of safety features have raised concerns. Here’s what you need to know about the app to keep kids safe.

What is Yellow?

Yellow is a social media app available on 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 Snapchat and Instagram.

How it works

Similar to dating app Tinder, it allows people to connect with others on based on their location, with users ‘swiping’ to accept or decline talking 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. You can also live stream with friends or ‘Anyone’ on the app.

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 Yellow…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.

Parents should be aware of the app’s problematic privacy issues.  You can read the app’s privacy policy, which is embedded within its terms of service, to find out more about the types of information collected and shared.

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+ anyone can sign up and post inappropriate content that breaks Yellow’s community guidelines so it is important to talk to children about what they may come across on the app.

Live streaming – You can ‘Go live’ during a chat with friends or choose to live stream ‘Anyone’ on Yellow. 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. As this opens a child up to sharing a lot of information with potential strangers, it is important to talk to them about how to Live stream safely. See our expert tips for support.

 

What are the safety features on the app? 

Managing who they talk to on the app  & privacy

Yellow 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 locations 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 set up when setting up an account you have to enter your mobile phone number and verify it on your phone (like Whatsapp)

Moderation

Yellow 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 Yellow’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 Yellow’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.

more info

Yellow 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.

Download guide