Yubo....Tinder for teens and tweens
In the last few weeks we have been made aware of enormous amounts of usage of the app "Yubo" happening again after it had disappeared off our radar for a while.
In early 2018 an app called Yellow - rebranded itself quietly as Yubo.
There were very good reasons for this name change to be made following hundreds of parental complaints, a deserved reputation as a Tinder for teens ( and tweens) , the developers had described their own product as a ‘virtual flirting app” , included a direct link to Snapchat with all the disappearing sexting and bullying that that offered, had children’s feeds filled with sexual content and predator followers , it had issues with location GPS software pinpointing user’s locations, and had accrued warnings from the FBI , The Australian Federal police and more law enforcement agencies across the globe.
It is worth noting Yellow had come into existence a short time after Tinder raised it’s age rating to 18+.
The YUBO rebrand was supposed to usher in a swathe of new security protocols, more moderation, a general improvement on its performance , and a strong hope everyone forgot about the righteous mess that Yellow had been.
Did that happen? Well, sort of.
And what changes were made? Some.
And how substantively have these changes effected the safety of your child if using this app? Not much.
What it is and how it works?
Yubo is free. And available for Apple and Android devices.
With over 20 million users, Yubo is continuing to collect users.
Age ratings on App stores now reflect the need for a more mature audience , focusing on the 17+ recommendation, rather than the 12+ Apple, and Google previously rated it at.
But, as with all age recommendations – it’s still completely possible to lie about your birthdate.
Yubo has divided its members into two sections, in effect accepting that while its age rating is 17+ there will still be younger users signing up.
There are now two sections within the app.
To access the complete version a user must be over 17+.
There is a section for tweens b/n 13-17, where older users out of this age range cannot interact with this group. This age range must have parental permission to use the app.
This is described by the app developers in text from their website. www.yubo.live.
Individuals under 13, are not allowed access if they enter a correct date of birth.
There is still no definite way to prevent younger users lying about dates of birth, or older user replicating that behaviour.
Yubo is trying.
It must be said that Yubo gives every appearance of trying to protect their younger users.
The developers provide this statement within their website, outlining the steps they have initiated since the re-brand. The Safety Guides are comprehensive and worth looking at.
It’s still not quite working that well, good intentions and all.
In order to sign up
An individual must provide a name, gender, date of birth, a mobile number, a recognisable image, and initially a location to allow the app to “match” the individual with people near to them. The app stated that dates of birth will not be published – though an age will, and a mobile phone number is required to proceed.
Only real images of an individual’s face can be used.
Trying to substitute a non-facial image will attract the attention of the moderators. There is nothing to stop someone using a digital picture of a friend, or copying an image from the internet, for use as a profile shot.
The final step in signing up is a verification code. Once this has been sent to the supplied phone number, the user is offered a series of profile shots of likely looking individuals within their area.
Like Tinder, a swipe to the right registers an interest and adds the individual to the users contact list, a swipe to the left consigns that would be friend to the dumpster.
None of these improvements offer any kind of guarantee that a younger Yubo users will not be matched, or connect with an individual claiming a false age.
It is still simple to use a false image, and a false date of birth, and any child with a smart phone will be able to complete all the steps necessary to join – without any input from their parents.