Student Well-Being

Yubo and Other Social Apps Popular With Kids: Facts and Cautions for Educators

By Alyson Klein — June 06, 2022 2 min read
Photograph of teenage boy with smartphone.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Uvalde shooter threatened to rape and kidnap kids he connected with on Yubo, a social media app nicknamed “Tinder for teens.” He shared disturbing images—dead cats, guns—and texted at least one girl he met on the platform about his plans to shoot up an elementary school.

Unlike some social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, Yubo isn’t a household name. But the platform—and similar apps that allow teens to video-chat with strangers—are becoming increasingly popular.

Here’s what educators should know about Yubo and similar social networking platforms.

About the app

Feature: Yubo allows users to create a profile, share their location, and check out images of people in their area and around the world. They can jump in on livestreams, or peruse profiles, swiping right on those they like, and swiping left on those they don’t, just like adults do on the Tinder dating app. Users who “like” each other can communicate directly, on streaming video.

Caution: Yubo’s user base has grown from 40 million in 2020 to 60 million in 2022. Ninety-nine percent of those users are between the ages of 13 and 25, according to TechCrunch, which reports on technology and startups. That large user base—and the fact that Yubo has competitors—means that an increasing number of kids are exposed to the platform and others like it. What’s more, anonymous viewers can comment on and even record live-streamers, the organization found.

Feature: Yubo bills itself as a way for kids to make friends all over the world based on their interests.

Caution: Since the platform works like Tinder, kids are often judging potential friends primarily on their appearances. Conversation can become sexualized and even graphic, according to a 2018 review of the platform by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that examines the impact of technology on young people. “It was easy to find substance use, profanity, racial slurs, and scantily clad people,” the nonprofit’s review said. Livestreams showed teens “smoking marijuana, using racial slurs, and talking about graphic sex.” Yubo did not respond to EdWeek inquiries about the content on its app.

Feature: Yubo is marketed to teenagers and young adults. Users must be at least 13 years old to engage on the platform.

Caution: This platform is not for kids, Common Sense Media says. In fact, the nonprofit recommends individuals be at least 17 before they consider using the app. As Common Sense Media’s review found, content featuring risky behavior and inappropriate is easy to find on the app. What’s more, anonymous viewers can comment on and even record live-streamers, the organization found.

See also

young hands with mobile phone
Prudencio Alvarez/iStock<br/>

How can adults help kids who encounter scary behavior online?

Make it clear that sexual harassment, violent threats, and cruel insults may be common on the internet, but that doesn’t make such behavior acceptable. In fact, it should be immediately reported to the app, said Erin Wilkey Oh, the content director for family and community engagement at Common Sense Media.

And teens should consider how the platform makes them feel. Teens should ask themselves, “does it feel like a supportive community, or does it feel toxic?” Wilkey Oh said.

Related Tags:

Events

School Climate & Safety K-12 Essentials Forum Strengthen Students’ Connections to School
Join this free event to learn how schools are creating the space for students to form strong bonds with each other and trusted adults.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
Future-Proofing Your School's Tech Ecosystem: Strategies for Asset Tracking, Sustainability, and Budget Optimization
Gain actionable insights into effective asset management, budget optimization, and sustainable IT practices.
Content provided by Follett Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Cellphone Headaches in Middle Schools: Why Policies Aren't Enough
Middle schoolers' developmental stage makes them uniquely vulnerable to the negative aspects of cellphones. Policies alone won't help.
6 min read
A student holds a cell phone during class at Bel Air High School in Bel Air, Md., on Jan. 25, 2024.
A student holds a cellphone during class at Bel Air High School in Bel Air, Md., on Jan. 25, 2024.
Jaclyn Borowski/Education Week
Student Well-Being Teachers Want Parents to Step Up to Curb Cellphone Misuse. Are They Ready?
A program from the National PTA aims to partner with schools to give parents resources on teaching their children healthy tech habits.
5 min read
Elementary students standing in line against a brick wall using cellphones and not interacting.
iStock/Getty
Student Well-Being Schools Feel Less Equipped to Meet Students' Mental Health Needs Than a Few Years Ago
Less than half of public schools report that they can effectively meet students’ mental health needs.
4 min read
Image of a student with their head down on their arms, at a desk.
Olga Beliaeva/iStock/Getty
Student Well-Being Download How to Spot and Combat Student Apathy: A Teacher Resource
A guide to help teachers recognize and address apathy in the classroom.
1 min read
Student reading at a desk with their head on their hand.
Canva