By now, most people have heard of Tinder, a dating app that allows strangers to interact and meet up. Tinder allows users ages 18+ to create accounts. For this reason, younger iPhone users can’t join Tinder. But have you heard of Yellow?
Many deem Yellow to be “Tinder for teens.” Yellow operates the same way that Tinder does. However, Yellow is supposedly an app that helps teens to make new friends. In this way, Yellow tries to distance itself Tinder’s expected “hook-ups.”
Still, Yellow is extremely similar to Tinder. Yellow uses iPhone’s location services to locate other users in their area, thereby broadcasting every user’s location. Users connect to the app through their Snapchat or Instagram accounts. Through this connection, they can upload five photos to their profile. They can then indicate if they want to meet boys, girls, or both.
Like Tinder, Yellow users swipe right to let someone know they’re interested in talking to them. After swiping right, they’re connected to strangers through a private messaging service. Then, they can chat, send photos and videos and connect on other social media sites. They may even plan to meet in person.
Yellow’s other features include live video sharing and group chats. In the app store, Yellow is rated 12+ for Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor and Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References. Notably, it’s also rated 12+ for Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content and Nudity as well as Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes. None of these features seem appropriate for 12-year-olds.
Yellow creates yet another space where young teens can interact with others. Also, they can exchange messages and videos, all without their parent’s knowledge. This presents the risk for inappropriate behavior amongst users. One of those risks is anonymous cyberbullying. Indeed, this app makes inappropriate usage almost impossible to track and report.
Additionally, Yellow capitalizes on anonymity by offering a platform for teens to interact with strangers without their parents finding out. Yellow is therefore a potentially dangerous online space. Parents need to be aware of what is going on in their teen’s life, including their social media usage. Only then can parents adequately discuss the site’s dangers, appropriate use and digital citizenship with them.
Furthermore, using Yellow could endanger young teens. There is no way to actually verify the age of Yellow users. Users are asked to enter a birthdate into the Yellow app to verify age. However, anyone could enter a false birthdate. This means that anyone, aged 8 or 48, could make an account. This makes Yellow a potential gateway for online predators to interact inappropriately with minors under a fake account.
There is no maximum age for users as well. Nonetheless, the age restrictions allow young users to develop a false sense of security. They may not even realize that the people they interact with on Yellow could have a fake account.
In conclusion, Yellow is a danger-zone for teens to inappropriately interact with strangers near them. By sharing their location and photos, they put themselves at risk for targeting by online predators hiding behind fake accounts. Not everyone uses the app inappropriately, but teens often slip into inappropriate usage without meaning to. Parents need to be informed about the Yellow app and talk with their children about the risks it presents. Relationships that begin on apps can easily move to e-mail and other social media platforms. By keeping an open line of communication with their teens and monitoring their computer use, parents can make sure their children are safe in every place, on- and offline.
By Amy Haupt