Cyber Mum – Safety Warning as Teen Dating App Grows in Popularity

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If you thought Snapchat was occupying the online time of your teenager, then think again – or at least double check!  Why?  Well, the teen dating App called “Yellow”, where your teen “Makes New Friends”, is growing in popularity amongst Australian school-aged teenagers, with more than 7 million users now making new friends daily.

The app is popular, as it connects with both Instagram, and which means with “Yellow” any matches your teen makes they can automatically add this to their Snapchat contact list. So with geolocation functionality on, your teen is therefore potentially opening their front door to strangers. Anyone can set up a “Yellow” account, as there is no verification required; users simply need an email address, a phone number and a profile picture.

The app is being referred to as the Tinder for young people, as it features the same format of viewing photos of potential friends and then swiping left or right if you like the look of the person. Not only is it encouraging our teens to be more superficial and judge people by what they look like, but it appears the app is notorious for large volumes of nudie pics being sent amongst so called friends.

To date, there have been multiple cases of child grooming via this app reported in Australia, including children being pressured to send nude photographs and being coerced into explicit sexual conversation while using the app.

Interestingly, if you were to go to the App Store or Google Play and review the app, this is what you would find:

“More than 7 million users are making new friends every day on Yellow! Join the community right now.

“Yellow is an easy and free way to make new friends and chat with them.

  • SWIPE – Swipe right to like and left to pass.
  • NEW FRIEND – If it’s a mutual like, you get a new friend
  • FRIENDS – All your Yellow Friends are here
  • CHAT – Have a great conversation with your new friend

“Rated 12+ for the following: Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content and Nudity, Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humour, Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes, Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References.”

Despite this rating, most parents are unaware that our teens are probably already using the app and we have no idea or no way of controlling which apps are in use and which are not – unless of course, you have Family Zone or a similar online protection system in place.

So as always, I strongly recommend talking to your kids about the potential danger of this sort of app, whether they are currently using “Yellow” or not. Talk about why they feel there is a need for it in their life, about how easy it is for anyone including paedophiles to use it and impersonate another person, the potential of inappropriate content and how easily kids are being coerced into sending illegal nudie pics.

It’s also worth understanding that as the explosion of the use of emojis in text chatting continues to grow, I also think it’s worth ensuring your kids realise that all may not be what it seems when getting messages from strangers or supposed friends.

These days emojis make up a huge component of the “conversation”. For example, the eggplant, peach, purple devil and surprised cat do not mean what you think they mean, and the list goes on. So talking about how to respond to these potentially inappropriate requests may be something your child needs some help with.

Good luck!
Cyber Mum Australia

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