YouNow: Broadcast, Chat, and Watch Live Video

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
YouNow: Broadcast, Chat, and Watch Live Video App Poster Image
Live video with major privacy issues, parent concerns.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 37 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 13 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

Viewing and broadcasting live are remarkably easy -- nearly effortless.

Violence

Violent acts and threats are forbidden and reportable. None were noted during our observation, but live streaming is unpredictable.

Sex

All users under 18 must be fully clothed/covered, but users older than 18 can appear topless. Because live streaming is unpredictable, it's possible users will share sexual content. During the review period, we saw teen boys without shirts dancing provactively.

Language

Profanity is rampant in broadcasts and comments. Bullying and sexually explicit language aren't allowed, though "f--k" is used frequently.

Consumerism

Teens can buy gold bars in-app that can be used to send gifts to other users.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The YouNow Rules & Community Guidelines forbid on-screen substance use, except for alcohol use by users over 21. Because live streaming is unpredictable, it's possible that underage users will use substances during their feeds.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that YouNow is a live video-streaming and chat app. Both the user agreement and app stores specify that users must be 13 and older. Teens register using an existing social media account (Facebook, Twitter, or Google+), though they can view broadcasts without registering. Privacy is definitely an issue, but kids can change their usernames to something more anonymous than their Facebook or Google+ identities. YouNow clearly forbids nudity, sexual content, and bullying in its community guidelines, but there's no promise of oversight. Profanity is prevalent. Users can report violators as well as block specific viewers, but live streaming is totally unpredictable -- there's no way to ensure teens won't encounter objectionable live content. By posting, a user is consenting to YouNow using their videos however they wish, though the user retains ownership.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySavannahB 1 January 5, 2016

Age is imporant

As someone who has had experience on YouNow for a while I would suggest that you be 18 or older and be very mature and have experience on social media. This web... Continue reading
Adult Written byannamangossss February 6, 2016
Teen, 14 years old Written by19brianna_leanna December 27, 2015

I love it y'all did good

I think I like this more than skpe
Teen, 16 years old Written byBaybay200799 November 2, 2016

Good

I love it

What's it about?

YOUNOW lets teens broadcast themselves live. They can see and respond to live chat or view other broadcasters and chat with them. Hashtags classify categories that viewers can search (#girls, #guys, #truthordare, #dance, #musicians, #sleepingsquad, #lgbt, etc.), and users can add broadcasters to favorites lists and receive notifications when they're broadcasting live. The number of viewers is shown, and broadcasters can start trending if they have lots of viewers. Teens can buy gold bars to use to send gifts to other broadcasters. Videos are only available live and can't be accessed after a few days (but another user could certainly use an external camera to film what's happening on screen); however, all user-generated content is retained and stored by the developers, so the content doesn't actually disappear.

Is it any good?

YouNow generates quite a bit of traffic -- teens showcase their musical talent, goof off, or just talk and respond to comments, which roll in continuously. Users do a pretty good job of keeping the rules in mind, though requests for phone numbers (which aren't allowed, per the user agreement) and profanity abound. Instead of observed iffy behavior, it's the potential for problematic content that might concern some parents. Some streams are a product of boredom -- there's a channel to watch people sleep -- and some showcase real talent; either way, there's definitely an interest in growing a fan base and getting more viewers, which may push some kids to do crazy things. It's also worth noting that many kids broadcast from their bedrooms, which may contain personally identifiable information. YouNow also reserves the right to reuse any content it wishes, so kids should know their posts could come back to haunt them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about privacy and the risks of broadcasting yourself to the world. What's fun about streaming video and getting live comments? What are the drawbacks? What would draw you to watching someone else's stream?

  • Review the app's rules together; discuss what's OK to share and what's not. Make sure teens understand that encouraging broadcasters to violate the rules can get them blocked, too.

  • Make sure kids understand that adults and teens both may be using the app and that it's up to them to protect their privacy. What's your kid's username? Where will he or she create posts? What kinds of comments warrant reporting?

  • Talk about general privacy and safety online, and check in with your kid about new content posted and viewed.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, Android
  • Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
  • Pricing structure: Free (Users can buy gold bars to be used to give emoji-style gifts to other broadcasters.)
  • Release date: March 20, 2015
  • Category: Social Networking
  • Topics: High School
  • Size: 52.00 MB
  • Publisher: BNOW Inc.
  • Version: 8.3
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later; Android 4.0 and up

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love social networking and sharing content

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