YOLO: Anonymous Questions
Is the YOLO app safe for kids?
A complete app review for parents.
We do not believe the YOLO app is safe for students to use. YOLO is one of many anonymous apps that went viral with teens during 2019 (see also Profoundly Anonymous Chat). Integration with Snapchat fuels the popularity of YOLO.
What is the YOLO app?
Description: On Wednesday, May 8, 2019, YOLO became the #1 most downloaded app in the entire Apple App Store. Even if YOLO’s fame is short lived, that alone is an achievement that millions of apps will never claim. As of the writing of this review, there’s very little existing commentary about the app.
This description comes from a TechCrunch article posted today:
“Built on top of the Snap Kit platform, YOLO uses Snapchat for login and Bitmoji profile pics to let you add an “ask me anything” sticker to your Snapchat Story. Friends can swipe up to open YOLO on iOS and send an anonymous question there that you then answer through another sticker posted to your Story.”
So, here’s the user flow sequence:
- Create a Snap in Snapchat.
- Click the paper clip icon on the right of Snapchat.
- Enable YOLO
- Post the Snap to your Story.
- Friends can post questions on your Snap.
- User retrieves YOLO messages left in Snapchat through the YOLO app.
- User decides which YOLO questions to post publicly in their Snapchat Storyand respond via a sticker.
App Store Category: social networking
App Store Rating: 12+
Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References
Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence
Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes
Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes
Infrequent/Mild Medical/Treatment Information
Corporate website: https://onyolo.com/
What do parents need to know about the YOLO app?
Anonymity. It Never. Goes. Well. It’s anonymous sharing. Anonymity has always created a breeding ground for hate and very poor teen decision making. The path of similar apps (Lipsi, Sarahah, Afterschool, Whisper, and Ask.fm) is paved with bullies and hurt kids.
The rating is too low at 12+. Do you know many 12-year-olds who consistently make great decisions over the long haul without accountability? Neither do we.
The best way to prevent YOLO is to turn off the App Store. We’ve written about this topic. It’s so simple and still not enough parents keep the App Store turned off. And, since kids are given the opportunity to invite other kids to “get the app,” unless you have it turned off or set up with Family Sharing, chances are at least one person they’re following will blanket their contacts with an invite.
Related Post: 3 Reasons to Keep the App Store turned Off
Talk to your kids about bullies. Make sure they know how to handle a disturbing or really cruel YOLO post if you’re going to allow your kid to use this or any social platform. Put it down and tell someone. Two simple steps. They work for porn, predators, and bullies. One thing that makes this anonymous sharing app different from others is that user have an opportunity to screen the questions before answering them publicly. That means they’ll get to read everything before everyone else, but make sure they’re ready for what they might read.
The bottom line: Is the YOLO app safe for your kids?
Like we stated at the beginning, no, we don’t believe YOLO is safe or wise for kids to use. Or, if you disagree and want to give your child some experience with a tough app, then please at least wait until after they’re 16. Snapchat already gives too many kids too many ways to hide suspicious behavior and YOLO multiplies that temptation times 10.
Now what? Have you heard of Bark?
Are you interested in having greater insight into the social media platforms that your kids are using? Bark is one of the best platforms we’ve tested. They’re constantly looking for ways to dig further into apps like Snapchat (although Snapchat doesn’t make it easy, Bark can monitor Stories in iOS), to keep parents informed of what matters. We trust them and we think you should, too!
*There are affiliate links throughout this post because we’ve tested and trust a small list of parental control solutions. Our work saves you time! If you decide that you agree with us, then we may earn a small commission, which does nothing to your price. Enjoy!