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Yolo App What Parents need to know about this popular app

We’ve been here a few times – covering a number of apps which allow users to post anonymous Q & A eg In February we blogged about popular app Tellonym after two schools in the UK issued warnings to Parents. 

Don’t get me wrong.  We’re big fans of privacy features – just not so much anonymity on platforms children frequent on a daily basis.  

So, Snapchat has joined the ranks.  Well it doesn’t directly allow users to send anonymous messages. But it kinda does – through the Yolo app. Yolo encourages  Snapchatters to use it’s ‘send me anonymous messages’ feature via a graphic.  So same thing. 

Yolo, according to Snap (Snapchat’s owners) ‘is not owned by or affiliated with Snapchat’.  Despite Yolo being one of the first apps to be launched by Snapchat’s software creation Snap Kit last year. Confused. So are we.  

Snapchat along with Instagram still remain amongst the most popular apps amongst children and young people.  Snapchat is still thriving, despite losing around 2% of its user base recently, a million of those after the infamous Kylie Jenner quote!. 

Yolo – which stands for ‘you only live once’ – has become the most downloaded app in the UK and US within a week of its release and is currently Number 2 in the UK iOS Top Chart for free apps. 

The app which is available for iPhone and Android allows users to add a ‘ask me anything’ sticker (graphic) to their Snapchat stories. The post can be attached to a story but can also be sent to a specific group of friends on Snapchat, a group or just the general public. 

Heads Up for Parents

The Yolo app is rated as 17+.

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As noted in previous blogs apps which facilitate anonymous comments can be misused to send abusive or harassing messages.  The app does come with a warning.  When you first launch a message appears on screen stating ‘YOLO has no tolerance for objectionable content or abusive users. You’ll be banned for any inappropriate usage’. 

In the past we’ve reviewed a number of anonymous Q & A apps coming under the spotlight as a result of abusive and bullying behavior.

As Snapchat (via Yolo) now has this feature which allows users the ability to post and respond to messages anonymously, potential for mis-use has gone up a notch.

Anonymous posts can be used to bully, harass, hurt and cause distress to others. Tellonym is just another in a long line of apps like Afterschool, Whisper, and Sarahah some of which still continue to be of concern for parents.

According to the BBC a spokeswoman for Snap was ‘not available for comment’.

Anyways according to Snap, as Yolo operates on ‘Snap Kit’ the structure built by Snapchat for third party developers, it does have to follow Snap’s Community Guidelines, even though remember ‘IT IS NOT OWNED BY OR AFFILIATED IN ANY WAY’ to Snapchat. So the good news is that users can report bullying or harassment on Yolo through Snapchat reporting tools. That’s something.  Hopefully they can police this and mitigate the risks. 

Keep safe online,


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Wayne Denner shares his knowledge & expertise on leading tech industry blog.

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