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Parents' Guide About Yubo, the 'Tinder for Teens'

11/24/2020

Wagoner County Sheriff Chris Elliott wanted to pass on some important information to Wagoner County Parents.  The platform Yubo, which is advertised as the "make new friends" app for teenagers but is often described as "Tinder for teenagers." The app enables teenagers (or adults pretending to be them) to find others with similar interests and chat through private messaging or via public live streams. They can also share their location and browse through the profiles of other users in their area, which is particularly problematic, encouraging in-person meet-ups with strangers who may or may not be who they've claimed to be.

Parents need to know that Yubo (formerly Yellow - Make New Friends) 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 livestreams or browse individual profiles by swiping Tinder-style -- right on profiles you like and left on profiles you do not. Terms state that users must be over 13, but it is easy to modify the date. 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. Still, it is easy to find substance use, profanity, racial slurs, and scantily clad people.  Additionally, teenagers can possibly exchange Snapchat and Discord information in front of other viewers so they could more easily chat with their new "friends" on multiple platforms.

There are not really controls for parents to put into place on Yubo.  Users can hide their location, block other users, and report inappropriate content, but the responsibility for that will fall on the teenager. If you allow them to use the app, you should both review the safety guides and reiterate the importance of not giving out personal information, not being inappropriate in a live stream, and not meeting up with strangers they've met through the app.

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