The Yubo application has been causing controversy in several parts of the world, including Brazil. The app, which is being called on several websites "Tinder for children", has the slogan "make new friends" (make new friends, in Portuguese). Available for Android phones and iPhone (iOS), Yubo works just like Tinder, a relationship application aimed at young people and adults.
That is, the user likes or dislikes the profiles of people who are in nearby locations. If the person you liked also gives a "like", you match and become "friends". One of the posts being shared on the subject says that "Nothing on the planet is going to be more dangerous than this app (for kids)". Understand below the polemics and the possible risks of the application.
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The three tabs of Yubo, in the test account made for the article Foto: Reproduo / Clara Barreto
Yubo describes itself as aimed at children and teenagers over 13 years of age who do not accept Tinder. According to the company rules behind the application, users between 13 and 17 years old are in a group, part of the adults, and must confirm that they have the permission of a responsible person to use the social network. However, in tests done when writing this article, no warning message was displayed when registering as a minor and, very quickly, we were able to access the application.
For reasons like these, parents and authorities question the security of the application for fear that anyone with bad intentions (such as pedophiles, for example) could pose as a teenager and cause harm to minors. A school in Cornwall, England, sent an email to those in charge alerting them of the large number of students enrolled in the app, which could be used by "sex offenders to target young people". In several other parts of the United Kingdom, the police and the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) have warned about the safety of children using Yubo.
In the United States, the police in the city of Lenexa, Kansas, posted on Facebook last year, warning about the dangers posed by the application (which, at the time, is still called Yellow): "Yellow uses location technology to find other users nearby, so anyone wishing to sign up must activate their location on the device. This poses obvious risks for young people who share their location online. "
Part of the Lenexa police post in the United States Photo: Reproduo / Facebook Lenexa Police Department
In Brazil, posts have been shared by parents who recently discovered the social network. One of them says: "Do you have a child with a cell phone? Check him out if he has Yubo installed (formerly Yellow). Nothing on the planet will be more dangerous than this App. Enticers, pedophiles, criminal networks, drug dealers, scammers …" .
With so many concerns raised, Yubo recently joined Australia's "eSafety Commissioners Tier 1" media scheme, which aims to resolve cyberbullying issues and curb them in the country. The partnership allows, if the company does not act within 48 hours in cases of bullying, the eSafety Commissioner has the freedom to act on the case and remove the content that affects children. In addition to Yubo, the social and gaming platform Roblox also joined the partnership.
Whether on Yubo or any social network or application that involves meeting other people (such as games, for example), it is important for parents to control the activity of their children and adolescents on the Internet. This can be done in several ways.
The Yubo website has a guide for parents and guardians, explaining how the app works and how to report any strange messages or users. The social network also teaches a step-by-step how the parent should proceed with their children: talk about why they like Yubo and other sites and applications; encourage to be as respectful in the virtual as in real life; and reassure them, saying that they are not alone and that they can count on their parents if they are worried about something.
Part of the Yubo Parents Guide Photo: Reproduo / Yubo Parents Guide
The application's website also provides a guide for children and teenagers. He teaches how to use Yubo safely, respecting other users and being honest about the information given to the app (like original photos, correct age, etc.). Yubo also explains how to protect himself on the social network, indicating what to do when they feel uncomfortable or suffer some kind of bullying. The guide has an explanation of the concept of bullying and how to report strange users. As with everything related to Yubo, the information is all in English.
Part of the guide for users aged 13-17 years old Photo: Reproduo / Yubo Teens Guide
There are other ways to protect minors when using the Internet, such as with the Kaspersky Safe Kids platform and the Kids Zone, Kids Place, Pumpic and Kid's Shell applications. These programs allow parents to define what the child can access by computer or cell phone, restricting various contents and / or being alerted to the sending of images, videos, etc. In addition, several services have their own parental control, such as Netflix, Windows 10, PlayStation (3 and 4), YouTube Kids, among others.