A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?"
For kids who love social networking
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.