It’s a lot like Tinder, but marketed to kids as young as 13 years old. “Yellow” is the next wave of meet-up spots online.
“Direct messages, whether it’s Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram,” says 20 year-old Carlos Mendoza. “Most of my buddies who are in relationships. That’s how they met who they are with.”
Yellow does clearly state that anybody under the age of 13 is not able to use the app, and those ages 13-17 must have “permission from a legal representative,” but that didn’t stop us from lying in our profile.
Within minutes, we were able to create a Yellow profile saying we were 13 years old and were never once stopped to ask for parental permission.
“There’s no verification on apps like this,” Mendoza says.
Working for The Gurian Institute, Katey McPherson educates teens and parents about some of the dangers lurking online.
“When I do student assemblies and ask, ‘who’s been contacted by someone older than you?’ all the hands go up,” McPherson says.
It’s one thing for adults to make the decision to meet a random stranger from the internet in person, but another for children.
“You can imagine as a 13-year-old, and you think you are meeting up with a 17-year-old at the Chandler mall and they’re much older than that, what would you do?” McPherson says.
As a parent the best practice is to sync your child’s devices to yours, which gives you the ability to know what they are downloading. McPherson says talking about the dangers is important, but monitoring children’s behavior is crucial to keeping them safe in the an uncertain digital world.