Yubo, formerly Yellow, is a social media app encouraging teens to find new friends by allowing them to swipe left or right to connect and live stream.
Now with over 15 million users, a change of name and new safety features to give users a safer experience, creators of Yubo are seeking to address the safety concerns that were raised about the app when it was first launched in 2015.
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 gained popularity among school-age teens who use it to chat with friends one-on-one or in groups and connect with other users through live video streaming.
Why is it so popular?
It free, easy to use and allows teens to connect with people around the world with shared interest and form connections.
What is that Yubo’s minimum age limit?
There is a minimum age limit of 13 on Yubo and anyone under 17 who sets up a profile has to confirm they have the permission of a parent or guardian. 13 to 17-year-olds have their own community that is separate from adults who use the app.
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 or adding friends while live streaming.
Through their settings users can manage how much of their location they share to find other users around the world: ‘My country first’ ‘All around the world’ ‘My country only’. Once this has been set users can discover other people profiles on the app.
To add new friends on Yubo, users swipe right on someone’s profile picture to ‘like’ them or swipe left if they would rather not be friends with them. If the user receives a ‘like’ from someone they like, they become friends on Yubo. This means that they can begin sending each other photos right away. Friends can also be added when they live streaming on the app.
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 video can easily be added as friends
Like other apps, users can live stream in real time through the app. Anyone on Yubo will be able to see their live broadcast and send messages, not just their friends. The user streaming the video can choose whether to add viewers as new friends connecting with friends.
What should you consider before letting kids use the app?
Minimum age limit – Although the app prompts a user who enters a birthday under 13 with a message that says ‘Sorry, it looks like you’re not eligible for Yubo…but thanks for checking us out’, there is still the potential that they could go back in and enter a false date to access the app.
Therefore, it’s important to help your child understand why these restrictions are in place so they don’t come across inappropriate content or connect with the wrong people.
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 – Makers of Yubo have implemented some safety features to make it safer for children to live stream on the app but it still poses a risk in light of the increase of online sex offenders using this tool to groom children and the potential to that children may share too much personal information ‘in the moment’ with people they’ve never met in real life. See our expert tips on live streaming for support.
What are the safety features of 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).
Safety prompts – Every user entering a live stream is prompted with Yubo’s community guidelines.
Yubo uses a number of tech tools to remove inappropriate content that breaks community guidelines and remove fake profiles.
To make live streaming safer, the app uses an algorithm to recognise when there is nudity and shuts down the live feed immediately and blocks the user out of the app for a period of time.
All titles of live streams are monitored to make sure they follow community guidelines and don’t contain anything explicit or inappropriate. If it’s inappropriate the user is given one minute to change it before the live stream is shut down.
Banned use of emojis as profile names that are sexually explicit.
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.yubo.live
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.yubo.live
On the app, you can report inappropriate photos or profiles by clicking the flag button in the top left corner of the relevant profile.
The response time on reports is usually within 24 hours. Yubo prioritises urgent threats and emergencies like suicide and violence and passes these to relevant authorities.
If a Yubo user breaks any community guidelines they are sent a warning message so that they understand what they have done wrong.
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.Download guide