Brave Parenting Guide to Anonymous/Random Video Chat Apps

What is Yubo, Yee, & Omegle and is it appropriate for my child?

Here are 5 FACTS every parent needs to know about Anonymous/Random Video Chat apps:

#1 Yee – Social at a Distance (formerly Monkey)

In April 2020 we noticed the popular (but unliked by parents) app Monkey was no longer available on the app store. Then suddenly, Yee is released and rises in popularity in the top 100 Free Apps in the App store. Turns out, it isn’t “new”, it’s Monkey’s doppelganger.

BASICS:
Yee falls into the ‘social networking’ category and is currently ranked #9 in this category (Facebook being #1).

They claim: “We are fueled by the vision of utilizing mobile technology for the well being of all and believe in a world where meeting new people in video calls is the norm.” Also, they say “…by introducing this new wave of social media, we’re creating a space where individuals can thrive socially, be more connected than ever before, and feel happier as a result.”

Yee allows you to chat with people all over the world. Users are randomly matched with other users for a short introductory video call or random text chat. When matched with a new person you can add more time or add the person on Snapchat to continue the conversation.

DANGERS:
There is no age verification to ensure users are 18+.
Completely free with NO in-app purchases = Data sharing/selling (personal information, user contributed content, and automatic information).
Live & Anonymous = risky, too easy to find sexualized/inappropriate content.

RATINGS:
Apple: 17+
Google Play: T Teen
Yee: 18+

#2 Yubo – Make New Friends

The Yubo app, formerly known as Yellow, has also reinvented themselves to rid themselves negative reviews. But what did they expect when they tagged themselves as “Tinder for Teens”??

BASICS:
Yubo’s effort is to create a safe place for teens (and only teens) to gather and meet new people. It is a social video live-streaming app to find new friends, chat with people just like you, and build a social community based on your interests.

It’s basic features are:

  • Live Streaming (anywhere/anytime doing anything)
  • Chat with friends; Swipe (just like Tinder: Swipe right for yes and Left for No – if both parties match they can chat and follow each other’s Snapchat or Instagram)
  • Find a Community (beauty, sports, travel etc.)
  • Share (earn rewards for inviting your friends to Yubo on Snapchat and other social apps).

They offer paid features called the Yubo Power Pack for $5.99/week or $8.99/month or $14.99 for 3 months.

DANGERS:
Obviously, there are many dangers with this app. Foremost, it allows users the ability to livestream themselves – not just to their friends but to any number of strangers. It’s not hard for a predator to fake their age and picture and prey on the teens using the app.
The Tinder like feel to the app and its immediate connection to Snapchat makes the Yubo a melting pot of dangerous apps.
Yubo has made their attempt to appease parents by several safety nets such as: auto-blocking of people who are obviously not teenagers, auto blocking of nude and semi-nude images, and prompting the community guidelines every time a user enters a livestream, among other things. But is this enough?

RATINGS:
Apple: 17+
Google Play: T Teen
Yubo: 13 – 17 with parental permission

#3 Omegle – Talk to Strangers

This app has been around for quite a while and has remained on our ABSOLUTELY NOT list. The catch is: it’s not just an app. The website omegle.com allows the same functions as the app, on the open internet.

BASICS:

Omegle (as an app) is in the Social Networking category and usually ranks in the top 100 free apps. Both the website and app connects users with others in real time. The claim: “no video chat is ever random, but carefully customized based on your user profile and interactions with other users.”

The app’s main features are:

  • video chat with instant live matches
  • DMs with your new friends
  • Reactions through animated fun chats
  • Gifts as a way to express your appreciation for a genuine conversation

DANGERS:
No age verification, anyone can lie and say they are over 18. With that said, if you register with a younger than 18 year old birth date, the app locks you out and says come back when you are 18.
The website is easily used through a phone’s web browser even if you’ve block downloads from the app store.
One-click entry into 18+ video content where it is widely known to be a sex/masturbation web cam.
Omegle themselves warn of inappropriate content and how unpredictable human behavior can be.

RATINGS:
Apple: 17+
Google Play: called Anonychat (Chat for Omegle): M Mature 17+
Omegle (App): 18+
Omegle (Website): 18+ or 13+ with parental permission

#4 Tons of Similar Apps Available

Hola – Random Video Chat
Showme – Random Video Chat
Hippo – Live Video Chat
Itsme – Make New Friends (as your Avatar)
Fachat – Videochat with Stranger
Lemon – Make New Friends Nearby
Naughty Video Chat – Live Video Chat
LivU – Live Video Chat
Addchat – Random Chat

#5 The Bottom Line

Overall, Brave Parenting does not recommend any of these apps for teens. We’d even go as far to say that if your 18 year old still living at home wants these apps they should be paying for their own phone plan.

The risks are simply too high and whatever gain there may be of a new “friend” adds nothing of value to their character. New friends can be made in many ways – best of which is in person. If random video chat truly becomes new norm for making friends as several of these developers suggest, we will have a significantly character deficient generation. Self-worth, trustworthiness and dignity are not promoted by this type of human connection and communication.

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