Everything Parents Should Know About The Yolo App
The new Yolo app has seen success levels far beyond what was expected by its developers.
It hit the top 5 most popular apps in Apple’s App Store.
However, its sudden success has raised some concerns about the privacy it offers and the type of content being distributed.
Being a parent certainly isn’t easy, and the modern online world is presenting parents more and more challenges.
In the not so distant past, most parents only worried when their kids were out of the house or a bit late coming home. However, nowadays, they have to worry about what they could see, access, or be exposed to online … even when they are in the same room.
What is the Yolo App?
The app itself is designed as a way to comment on, share, and ask questions anonymously via Snapchat. This app integrates with Snapchat in a way that allows its users to hide their identity, but still interact with other users. It does this by hiding the username of those that submit via the Yolo app, after signing into Yolo with their Snapchat account.
Snapchat users can also ask them questions, if the Snapchat owner adds the ‘Ask me a question’ sticker (wording can be adjusted) in a snap story. The users can then ask questions via this system and your child can reply to them anonymously.
This app has been targeted mostly at the teenage market, but will be used by many others, due to the popularity of Snapchat.
Why Parents Should be Concerned About Children Using Yolo
Even harmless apps can cause problems sometimes, so here is what parents should know about Yolo before letting their child use it.
Anonymity - While being able to ask questions anonymously is a comfortable way to learn about uncomfortable subjects, being anonymous often brings out the worst in people. It can be used for bullying, trolling, and baiting … adding serious stress to users.
Content - The app is available in the app store and recommended as 12+. This makes it seem safe to parents, but a lot of the content shared is far more ‘grown up’ than a twelve year old should have access to.
Bullying - It is suggested that over 50% of children nowadays will experience at least some form of cyberbullying. However, these statistics are also often on the low side, as a lot of cyber bullying goes undetected.
Outing of Bullies - Yolo claims to be for positive exchanges and that is abused, privacy will be upheld. However, until we see this happen, it is unknown how well these situations will be managed by the developers.
Past Example “Sarahah” - was an anonymous Snapchat question and answer style app that was banned from the app stores in 2018 regarding bullying and hate crimes against users.
Flagging/Blocking Features - These are available, but children need to know how to use them and parents need to know what the consequences of using them would be.
The good news is that there is a lot that parents can do to prevent or assess the use of Yolo by their children, especially younger children.
Access to the app can be blocked or controlled by the parents by an app blocker. There are also monitoring apps that can be used to monitor usage of digital devices. Even the app store itself can be blocked or access restricted, preventing installation.
The above parental ‘moves’ can also be combined with talking to children and arming them with the knowledge and tools they need to deal with bullying, trolling, cyber crimes, and other more ‘grown up’ situations.
By giving them a safe place to discuss issues openly, or the resources to deal with issues themselves, parents can increase the bond and prepare them for online life going forward.
Talking to them about the apps they use, how they use them, what the apps do etc. can open up relationships and also provide invaluable knowledge to parents of modern day tweens and teens.