By: Julie Giyer
Kern Valley Sun
Adolescents have many ways of accessing unlimited amounts of information at the touch of a button. Technology has significantly advanced, providing more avenues for bullying, harassment, and unwanted social interaction. Being such an integral part of our lives, we rely so much on technology that having it becomes the norm, more so for adolescents. On average, adolescents spend up to eight hours a day on electronic devices.
High Schools have noticed a new app being used by adolescents called Yubo, formerly known as Yellow. Yubo is much like the adult “Tinder” app where they post pictures of themselves and swipe left or right based on looks, and are matched up with a stranger. Although, it’s not a designated dating app, that is how it is being used amongst adolescents. 80% of the users are between 15 and 20, and available for people between 13 and 25. This app allows for video chat and group chat that allows anyone to join and watch.
The sole purpose of this app is to connect strangers for a friendship or relationship, making apps like this a playground for predators and pedophiles.
We know very well from shows like “Catfish” that airs on MTV, that anyone can pretend to be whomever they want on these dating apps. Posing the question, “Who is your child talking to?” Kern Valley High School knows this app all too well. Principal, John Meyers is very concerned about the usage of this app in his school. “My concern is that a young lady could be sitting on her bed in front of a Kern Valley High sports picture doing a live chat and within seconds a stalker will know what school they go to, what they look like, what sports they play. That’s a lot of leverage they now have to start grooming victims,” Meyers said.
As a concerned parent, you may be wondering what you should do. The first step is to pay attention to how your child is using social media. You need to access whether your child is emotionally mature enough to be exposed to this type of content. If you feel they are, it’s best to discuss with them the risks involved with any type of app such as this one. Advise them of the risks they pose with sharing their personal information with strangers. For younger adolescents, if you are worried about their usage then you can always set parental controls on their cellphones to limit usage on certain apps, websites, and time spent. Communication is key here. It is always best to talk with your child about potential dangers they could face with any choice they make.