Yubo

App review by
Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Media
Yubo App Poster Image
Looks-oriented friend finder risky for younger kids.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 9 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Created for entertainment and not intended for learning.

Ease of Play

Fairly easy to navigate and use.

Violence

The terms of service prohibit images of violence or images that might incite violence, but user-generated content could contain violence.

Sex

User-generated content could contain sexual language and overtones.

Language

No profanity in the app itself, however some users' profiles include bad language, and other user-generated content could contain profanity.

Consumerism

Users are encouraged to purchase a "Power Pack" - a weekly, monthly, or yearly subscription priced from $3.99 to $39.99. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Though the app itself doesn't contain substance references, user-generated content can and does show substance use.

What parents need to know

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 don’t. Terms state that users must be over 13, but it's easy to fudge 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, during the time of review, it was easy to find substance use, profanity, racial slurs, and scantily clad people. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byConcerned_dad_132 January 6, 2020

Stranger Danger

This is essentially a dating app for kids. My 13-year-old daughter was able to contact older men who were asking her for her phone number and explicit pictures.... Continue reading
Adult Written byAdopted Mom June 20, 2019

Mental Health issues ABOUND!

My 14 yr old adopted daughter who suffers from PTSD met other mentally ill kids on this website. Now she is suffering new mental health symptoms
and has had su... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byHorsegirl188 March 30, 2020

Amazing

This app is sometimes considered a dating app for teenagers and considered that it’s a app filled with creepy people but there are so many settings that you can... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byEchoOrdialz March 18, 2020

Make sure you/your child can handle it!

Yubo is NOT a dating app or an explicit image app either. Once people make sure they are mature enough to use an app where you can make friends then they should... Continue reading

What's it about?

YUBO – MAKE NEW FRIENDS is a free social media app where users create personal profiles then browse other users' profiles, swiping left to pass or right to "like” them. Users who like each other's profiles can chat. User profiles can share a lot of personal information, and the app encourages users to  enable their phones' location services. You can opt to hide your city, thus limiting people's ability to find you, and you can opt out of the Swipe feature. The app has a built-in barrier to limit profile views by users' reported age, but doesn't seem to make much difference. (It's possible for instance, to create an account as a fifteen year old user and filter profile views to users ages 23-25)  Further, the Live video chat feature lets anyone from age 13-25 to join. Basic use of the app is free, but users are encouraged to purchase a premium subscription that ups their visibility and gets rid of ads. Users wanting to verify their own identity within the app can download third-party app Yoti, however this isn't a requirement and provides limited safety when it comes to other users. 

Is it any good?

Having made safety information more “in your face,” the developer has made some efforts when it comes to user safety, but they still fall short when it comes to teens. It helps having frequent reminders of what's appropriate and what's not, and there's live moderation if a livestreamer tries to strip down to underwear -- or more. Still, users' profiles often contain obscene text and profanity and often don't show a real person at all. Livestreaming sessions show teens smoking marijuana, using racial slurs, and talking about graphic sex. And while teens -- or seemingly younger kids --  are livestreaming, anonymous viewers can comment on and even record the streamers. During review teens were sometimes streaming during school, which introduces another layer of trouble. On top of this, parents could object to the app's superficial “make friends based on looks” mechanic, and should definitely be concerned that its age filters don't work. And though it gives you the option of downloading a third-party app to verify your online identity, parents should be aware that it still emphasizes the superficial evaluation of other people and facilitates real-life meetings among strangers. Privacy settings can hide your location and prevent your profile from joining the pernicious, swipe-activated Wheel of Judgment, but for kids, the app's still a no-go. 

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the long-term effects of sharing what are assumed to be private moments through apps like Yubo, Snapchat, and Instagram. Livestreaming with friends while strangers watch could reveal personal information

  • Talk to kids about what and how they share online. What do they think it means to be a good digital citizen? 

  • Discuss how Yubo's looks-only "like" or "pass" matchmaking style can affect a person's self esteem. Read Common Sense's blog post "Is Social Media Giving Your Teen a Negative Body Image?

App details

For kids who love social networking

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