App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Yo. App Poster Image
Simplistic -- some say stupid -- app means well.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The interface couldn't be any easier to grasp. 

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Yo. is a bare-bones social app that sends a short text message to friends and family, simply reading "Yo" (and speaking the word aloud). It's an app that will seem silly, and a lot of people won't get it, but it has seen its popularity explode in mid-2014. Although it's simplistic, the app can be used for kids or parents to simply let others know they're thinking about them -- or have arrived safely at a destination -- in a quick manner. Because of its sudden popularity, though, hackers are looking for ways to exploit it, so it's worth making sure you always have the latest version. 

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What's it about?

Users scan their contacts to find friends and family who have the YO app installed. From there, they can simply touch the contact's name to send a text and an audio message reading and saying "Yo." No words, pictures, or video could be added to the message at the time of this review.

Is it any good?

If you're looking for a quick way to let someone know you're thinking of them, Yo. is certainly the app to do it. It's a viral sensation -- and one that has managed to pocket $1 million in venture capital funding, which is mind-boggling to most observers. It's simplistic. It has been called stupid -- and it may well be. But the appeal of the app lies in that simplicity. 

Yo. isn't meant to be a complex communication tool. It's not meant to send long messages. It's meant to let you tell someone you're thinking of them -- or you've accomplished something you're both aware of. It's rudimentary. It's something that many adults will never quite get, but kids probably will. And it's something that likely will be a flash in the pan. But it's also a good way for kids to check in when they reach a destination (without the process being burdensome in their eyes) and can be adapted to pretty much any scenario that requires a brief communication.

Hackers have tried (and once succeeded) to exploit the app because of its monster success, but the developers say the proper fixes are now in place. Still, it's best to make sure you always have the most recent version, yo. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of staying in touch. 

  • Families also can talk about how a little gesture can go a long way with someone else. 

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love to be social

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