The YOLO app is the latest anonymous app to go viral with teens. Similar to Yik Yak, Whisper, and Sarahah the Yolo app is an anonymous Q&A app. However, the main difference that is contributing to the success of the YOLO app is that it works seamlessly with Snapchat – which is already one of the most popular teen apps.
If your children use Snapchat it is very likely that they will encounter the YOLO app, this app guide is to help you start a dialog and keep them safe.
What is the YOLO app?
- YOLO: Anonymous Questions is an app that allows users to add an “ask me anything” sticker to their Snapchat Story
- When a user posts an “ask me anything” sticker in their Snapchat Story, viewers can swipe up to open the YOLO app and ask a question
- Users log into the YOLO app with their Snapchat login details
- The app allows users to review questions privately. Then, the user chooses which questions they want to answer and who to share that answer with on Snapchat
- Answers are usually posted with a selfie
- The app was built using Snap Kit which is a software creation platform by Snapchat. This means that the app works seamlessly with Snapchat (a platform teens know and love)
Why should parents care?
- The app is incredibly popular with teens. Within the first week of launching the YOLO app became #1 in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store
- It is being compared to Yik Yak, Whisper, and Sarahah – apps which have been criticized for promoting bullying. Sarahah and Yik Yak were removed from the App Store due to bullying
- It can bring out the worst in some tweens and teens when they feel like they can ask their friends questions anonymously without having to take responsibility for their words
- If your child is seeking validation from strangers – this should be a major red flag for parents
The YOLO app in the news:
But as with Sarahah, Secret, YikYak, and other anonymous apps before it, YOLO is vulnerable to being used to spread hate speech and bullying. Given school-age kids can get in trouble for insulting someone in the hallway, they’re quick to torment peers though apps, especially if they piggyback on one everyone already uses.–TechCrunch
YOLO does warn users that it has ‘no tolerance for objectionable content or abusive users’ before they can start asking or answering questions—but when have teenagers ever followed the rules en masse?–Fast Company
What can parents do?
- Be on the same apps as your children. If your kids use Snapchat, set up an account, spend time on the app, have them teach you how it works, get familiar with where private messaging happens on the app, and monitor them regularly. You will always be the best tool for keeping your kids safe
- Talk to your children and remind them that they do not need “honest” feedback from strangers
- Teach your children to avoid gossiping both offline and online – even if they are “anonymous”
- Discuss the dangers of anonymous apps and how they can have an impact on real life
- Follow our suggestions to help your child prepare for the responsibility of being on social media:
- Ages 0-13: Private
- Ages 13: Have a family discussion regarding what should go public
- Age 14-15: Build a personal website and post positive volunteer photos (and accomplishments/projects) online
- Age 17: Colleges should be able to find a positive online footprint for your student
Time and time again, we’ve seen anonymous Q&A apps like the YOLO app turn into breeding grounds for negativity and bullying. Since anonymous apps don’t help students achieve their goals or help their digital footprint, we put apps like the YOLO app in our Red Zone. If your child uses the YOLO app, we recommend that they delete it and stick to using Snapchat on its own with parental supervision.
Have you heard of the YOLO app yet? If so, how are you keeping your kids safe? Let us know in the comments below!