Yellow app aimed at teens: a perfect opportunity for pedophiles

April 23, 2017 — by Amy Tang

New app is essentially Tinder for teens. 

“Do you have a Yellow?” one of my friends Snapchatted me one night. Not knowing what Yellow is, I opened the App Store — and soon after reading the app’s description, I felt sick to my stomach.

Yellow’s founders, Emmanuel Khayat, Sacha Lazimi, Arthur Patora, Jeremie Aouate and Anthony Tuil, describe the app as “an easy and free way to make new friends and chat with them,” but many have noticed that Yellow appears to be a Tinder-style dating app for people under 18, where users can swipe either left or right depending on if they like a person’s profile or not.

The app, which first appeared on the App Store in December, should not be used by teenagers because the chances of sexual harassment — or worse — are extremely high, especially with its non-protective means of verifying a user’s age.

The NSPCC, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, has warned parents that the app can be used by sexual predators to groom young innocent people.

To create a Yellow profile, users must enter their first name, gender and date of birth, along with an option to add their Instagram account and Snapchat username. Users then choose who they would like to connect with: boys, girls or both. Finally, users can then upload a profile picture and up to five other photos, similar to Facebook.

The design of the app is eerily similar to Tinder and encourages users to describe themselves using emojis, a feature that appeals to younger users. The app’s founders said that they “made Yellow to answer the need of long-distance digital relationships.”

Unfortunately, Yellow, popularly dubbed “Tinder for teens,” is instead the answer to the needs of pedophiles, who would be able to easily masquerade as a teenager in order to meet with and possibly assault underage users. “Sift Science,” a website that sampled over 8 million dating profiles from various websites, found that 10 percent of profiles are fake.

The difference between Tinder and Yellow is that Yellow advertises "making friends" rather than dating. The deceitful marketing means that parents and children might be easily fooled into thinking this app is safe, rather than recognizing that it is a place that could potentially attract sexual predators.

Users must be 13 or older to sign-up for the Yellow app. According to the terms of service, users between the ages of 13 and 17 should have parental permission before creating an account and must only connect with other users in the same age group.

However, a lack of an accurate age-verification tool poses a risk for young users and opportunities for predators.

Warnings about inappropriate content can be found on the App Store when downloading the app. But the user can only access this important warning after scrolling down and reading the section labeled “Information,” which teenagers rarely bother to do.

The app includes the following flags: mild sexual content and nudity; frequent, intense, mature or suggestive themes; mild profanity or crude humour; mild alcohol; tobacco, or drug use or references. Warnings like these show that Yellow is no place for a 13-year-old.

Rather than using dangerous apps to “make friends,” teenagers should try going out and actually connecting with people — it’s safer and much more rewarding.

4 views this week