The YOLO App and Anonymous Messaging: What Parents Need to Know

Jill Holtz

September 12, 2019

yolo app

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Is your tween or teen using YOLO? It’s a free social media app that allows anonymous questions to be posed through Snapchat. Here’s what parents need to know about the YOLO app – and why vigilance is important.

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Currently Top 5 of the Social Networking apps on the App Store, YOLO has become a viral hit with tweens and teens. As a parent, read on to familiarise yourself with the YOLO app so you will know just what to expect.

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What is the YOLO App?

YOLO is a free social media app available on iOS or Android, which is basically linked to Snapchat. So if your teen or tween uses Snapchat, they may well be using YOLO.

According to the YOLO website: “YOLO app is an application which lets you receive anonymous questions from your Snapchat followers. After connecting on YOLO App with Snapchat, you will start receiving the anonymous questions from your Snapchat followers. You can answer those YOLO anonymous messages or questions by opening On YOLO messages app.”

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How Does YOLO Work?

It’s basically like a free add-on feature for Snapchat. When you connect YOLO to your account, you can add an “ask me anything” sticker to your Snapchat Story that invites your followers to just swipe up and give you feedback or ask questions anonymously. Then, you can decide whether to respond to those questions in Stories.

When you have downloaded the YOLO app, you use your Snapchat username and password to log in. Once you get in, you can create an anonymous message and send it to your Snapchat friends. You can customise it with stickers and also reply to messages you receive in your Story.

After downloading the YOLO app and connect it with your Snapchat account you have to agree to the app’s policies that prohibit abusive behaviour in the app. This notice says “By using YOLO App you agree to the terms of service (EULA) and privacy policy. YOLO has no tolerance for objectionable content of abusive users. You will be banned for any inappropriate usage”.

yolo terms and conditions

What Do Parents Need to Be Aware Of?

There are definitely some things parents need to be aware of about the YOLO app:

YOLO is rated 17+ on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store recommends Parental Guidance. Technically, 13 is the minimum age according to YOLO’s own terms and conditions. However, there is no date of birth input when signing up (not that that would stop a tween or teen), because it just uses your Snapchat log in to get going.

Because of the anonymous aspect of the way YOLO poses questions, this can lead to potential problems. Any social network that lets you send and receive messages anonymously can be problematic. For example, you may be aware of Yik Yak, another anonymous messaging app, this would be similar.

The developers of YOLO seem to have created it to add fun features to Snapchat, but as with many apps, the original idea can become misused.

Remember that anonymous apps often bring out the worst in users because people feel they can say anything anonymously without accountability. This could in turn lead to instances of bullying, inappropriate messages, and so on.

The only way to report inappropriate messages or threats is to send an email to the app developers. It’s not clear how quickly they would reply or what that response would be.

And even though they ask you accept their terms and condition it doesn’t say what happens if you don’t abide by them.

You may decide not to allow your teen to use the YOLO app, but if you do then here are some tips.

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Tips for Parents if Your Tween or Teen is Using the YOLO App

#1. Try it yourself

Try it yourself and get your tween or teen to show you the basics. This is one of the best ways of learning and understanding what it’s about.

#2. Have a conversation again about internet safety

Remind your tween or teen that they should tell you if they see anything strange or receive any adverse messages. And that they should never divulge any personal information to a stranger.

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#3. Talk about anonymous and what that can mean

Have a frank discussion about posing anonymous questions and how people could potentially misuse that or indeed misunderstand. What are the risks?

#4. Talk about cyberbullying and peer pressure

What does cyberbullying mean to your tween or teen? How would they feel if they got this type of message online, and what would they do? Similarly, remind them about the importance of how their own messages and comments can be perceived. Discuss how peer pressure can lead to people doing and saying (both in person and online) mean, hurtful, dangerous or untrue things.

#5. Ask your child why they are using YOLO?

Is it for validation? Is it to avoid embarrassment? The answers to these may be the start of more conversations you need to have.

#6. Remain vigilant

Even though you have talked to your child about being safe, it’s important to remain vigilant and check in regularly with your child. Keep the conversation going and stay interested and informed.

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Does your tween or teen use YOLO? What are your thoughts on it? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

Is Your Tween or Teen using Yolo App_ Here's What Parents Need to Know - Mykidstime

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