Yubo is a social app for teens aged 13 and up. Similar to Tinder's platform, it allows kids to swipe right on those they wish to make a connection with. Users can also connect their Musical.ly, Snapchat or Instagram accounts to their Yubo profiles, finding likeminded 'friends' to chat with.
Despite high security on the app there are still concerns that the platform could be a hotbed for teen grooming by predators pretending to be younger than they are.
Even with the potential risks, the app is hugely popular – over 15 million subcribers - and there is every chance your child will want to be a part of it. You can try to 'ban' it, but it's likely your child will find a way to access it anyway. So, whether you allow your child to use Yubo, or not, the best approach is to know what you're dealing with so that you can keep communication lines open.
There is a risk your child will be exposed to inappropriate content
Pictures shared with A Current Affair this week show profiles of underage teenagers with sexually suggestive profiles and semi-naked images.
The app does take measures to reduce this content on site. Yubo uses backend software to automatically block any nude photos appearing in profiles, and to detect and moderate users who use 'nude' in their names or usernames.
However the risk is there that some content will slip through. Reporting this content is simple, so it is essential that parents are having the conversations with their children around the risks and responsibilities of using these kind of apps.
Yubo also uses human moderators on site to check that the app is offering the safest user experience for its subscribers.
Who can talk to my child on Yubo?
Yubo has been called "Tinder for kids". Like Tinder and Bumble, users are invited to swipe right on profiles they like and swipe left on profiles they don't.
If users swipe right on a person who has swiped right on their profile, it is a match and they can then chat and automatically follow one another on Snapchat.
What security measures does the Yubo app take?
While the app can't officially verify a user's age, they do take measures to ensure that people are who they say they are.
An extensive Parents Guide offers information on the app, and offers suggestions on how to talk to your children about what they should do if they see something questionable.
Permission from a parent or guardian must be confirmed for people joining Yubo between the ages of 13 and 17 years.
Accounts are often removed for infringements. Yubo uses human moderation to review content that is reported, and monitor user profiles for suspicious behaviour. Profiles that may be fake users — pretending to be someone they're not—or that share inappropriate content, are blocked and removed from the app.
Users can 'unfriend' other users that are bothering them.
App subscribers are encouraged to report activity such as sexual images, bullying, violence, homophobia, racism, extremist views and criminal activity. The reporting feature is simple to use, and content is removed immediately. In cases where the content infringes on the law, it is reported to authorities.
Parents can also send their concerns to Yubo through a dedicated contact form on the safety centre.
Conversations to have with your kids about Yubo
Users need to careful about sharing personal information, such as their full name, phone number, email and address.
Ensure they know to leave personal contact information out of their Yubo profile. Users should protect their identity until they are comfortable enough with someone to share it. Ask them to check with you first so you can do some research too.