19 January 2017
Labelled as ‘Tinder for teens’ by the NSPCC, Yellow is fast becoming one of the most popular apps among teens and young people. Linked to Snapchat, the app is laid out in a similar way to Tinder and allows users to swipe left or right depending on if they like the look of the person they’re presented with or not.
On the face of it Yellow seems like a pretty innocent app, however a lot of organisations are very concerned by how easily children can be contacted via the app and how often messages sent via Yellow contain inappropriate or sexual content. To help you stay safe online, and to give parents an insight into how this new app works, here’s a quick rundown of what you need to watch out for when using Yellow.
Though in theory Yellow is only for people aged 17+, in reality there are no real age checks and so anyone with a Snapchat account can access the app. Yellow says that it has restrictions in place to stop adults contacting children, however these can easily be by passed simply by creating an account with a fake date of birth.
Even though a lot of the people who use Yellow are looking to genuinely make friends, there seems to be a worrying number of people who are only on Yellow to find people who will send them sexual content. It’s not uncommon for other users to ask for ‘nudes’ within seconds of starting a conversation. This can make a lot of young people feel very uncomfortable and unsure of how to react.
As well as asking directly for nudes in messages, people on Yellow have started sending videos that seem innocent at first, but that end with a request for nudes. Sometimes the phrase ‘send nudes’ will be spelt out in makeup at the end of a video or slipped in another way. As Yellow is linked to Snapchat, it’s very easy for users to send content to the people they’re talking to, something they might regret in the future.
Once someone has signed up for Yellow and has started using the app, there’s very little they can do to control who gets in touch. Even if you look for the small print, there’s not a lot of information on the Yellow website, or within the app, about privacy. This makes it pretty unclear how and if young people are protected when using the app, and is something that could leave teens vulnerable when they’re online.
Dealing with sexual messages
If you receive requests for nudes or other messages that make you feel uncomfortable when using Yellow or other apps, talk to an adult that you trust such as a teacher, parent or carer. You can report the content straight away using the ‘Click CEOP’ button found at www.thinkuknow.co.uk which allows reports to be made straight to a section of the police. This can be used by young people or concerned adults. It’s also a good idea to stop talking to the person who sent the request and to ignore them if they try to get in touch again. Remember that you don’t really know who you’re talking to, so you should never trust them with any personal information, photos or videos.
To find out more about staying safe online, take a look around the rest of our blog and at www.thinkuknow.co.uk for lots more information for young people about sexting, cyberbullying, things that worry you online and how to stay safe.