Police are raising awareness of an app that’s been likened to Tinder for teenagers, and have warned that sex offenders could use it to target children.
Yellow, which describes itself as “an easy and free way to make new friends and chat with them”, is free to download from Google Play and the App Store, where it’s rated 12+ for: “Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes, Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References, Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content and Nudity and Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humour.”
It works in a very similar manner to dating app Tinder. Users can match with each other by swiping right on a series of profiles that pop up on their screen.
When two people match on Yellow, they can exchange messages and pictures and add each other on Snapchat, which is a completely separate app.
However, Yellow is aimed at a much younger demographic than Tinder. Children between the ages of 13 and 17 can create an account with parental permission, but adults can also sign up.
Though Yellow doesn’t allow users aged 18 and over to contact younger members, the app doesn’t verify people’s ages when they sign up, meaning users can lie about their age.
Northumbria Police are now warning schools and parents of the potential dangers associated with the app.
“We have been informed by Northumbria Police about an app called 'Yellow' which is available on both iPhone and Android,” wrote Castletown Primary School in Sunderland, in a Facebook post.
“It is basically a dating app for children. If anyone knows of 'Tinder', it is essentially the same, allowing young people to find others nearby and send photos of themselves. It is very easy for adults to use the app, posing as a young person.”
Since it launched, Yellow has banned profile pictures that don’t contain faces and made it a requirement for users who want to change their date of birth after sign-up to first provide proof of age to the company.
“The advice was given as part of an input by local neighbourhood officers who visited the school to speak to the school children about a range of issues including online safety,” said Northumbria Police neighbourhood inspector Don Wade.
“It was given as general information around the social media sites that exist and not in response to any particular concerns that have been raised.”