Social networks, apps and games
YOLO app icon

YOLO

YOLO is an app that lets users anonymously ask and answer questions posted on Snapchat stories. YOLO says that anyone aged 13 or over needs parental permission to use the app.

13+

Official age rating

At a glance

Kids use this to...

Play

Create

Learn

Connect

Expert view of the risks...

Sexual

Medium Risk

Violence & hatred

Medium Risk

Bullying

High Risk

Suicide & self-harm

Medium Risk

Drink, drugs & crime

Medium Risk

O2 Guru top tip

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Know how to report

Use the ‘report inappropriate content’ button if you come across anything inappropriate or upsetting.

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What you should know

 

YOLO connects to your Snapchat

 

YOLO works by connecting to your Snapchat account. Using the app, you can post a question to your Snapchat story or a group chat which links back to YOLO. Snapchat friends can then anonymously reply to your question.

 

Children aged 13 or over need parental permission to use YOLO

According to YOLO’s terms of service, children aged 13 or over can use the app but their parent or legal guardian needs to agree to the terms. Before letting your child use YOLO, we recommend exploring it with them beforehand. Use this opportunity to decide whether it’s right for your child, discussing the risks and how to stay safe.

 

Be aware of anonymous messaging apps

 

YOLO is just one of many anonymous messaging apps, like Sarahah and Tellonym. Anonymous messaging apps can be used safely and positively but they can often encourage users to behave differently. This can lead to things like bullying or inappropriate comments. Read our advice on anonymous messaging apps to learn more about the risks and how to stay safe.

 

There’s a ‘Join your School’ group chat feature

 

Under group chats, there’s a ‘Join your School’ feature. If you allow the app to use your location, YOLO will suggest nearby school group chats which you can join. You can then chat to other users anonymously. There’s no way of knowing if the people in the chat actually attend the school and some of the messages sent might be inappropriate. We recommend staying away from this feature.

Top tips for staying safe

Exploring apps, sites and games together is a great way to involve your child in the decision-making process.

Be positive about what you see, but also be open about your concerns. Ask them what they think is appropriate and what worries them.

If you decide it’s not appropriate, then make sure you explain your reasons why.

You might decide it’s ok for your child to use. If so, make sure you follow the tips below to ensure it’s as safe as possible. And work out a time when you’ll next discuss the app.

Explain that you understand the internet is a great place to play, create, learn and connect. But remind them they can talk to you if anything upsets or worries them.

Reassure them that you won’t overreact – you’re just looking out for them.

And if they feel like they can’t speak to you, tell them to talk to an adult they trust, like a teacher or Childline.

Help your child think about what they share online and who sees it. Compare it to what they would be happy to share offline.

You might want to start by asking:

  • What kinds of things do you share online?
  • Should we share everything?
  • What shouldn’t we share?

Use examples that are easy for them to understand: “You wouldn’t give your number to somebody you don't know on the street. Is somebody online you don't know any different?”

Listen to their answers. And be positive and encouraging.

Remind them that they shouldn’t share private things, such as:

  • personal information, like names, emails, phone numbers, location and school names
  • other people's personal information
  • links to join private group chats
  • photos of themselves
  • photos of their body, such as sexual photos or videos.

Your child might receive upsetting or inappropriate messages or comments from other users via YOLO. If this happens, they should report it by using the ‘report inappropriate content’ button. You will then get a message confirming it’s been reported.

Explore this feature with your child and talk about when they might want to use it.

And remember to let your child know that they can always talk to you about worrying things they see online.

There’s no way to know who sent you something on YOLO unless the sender chooses to reveal their own identity. But if you do find out who sent you something negative or upsetting, you or your child might want to block or remove them from their Snapchat friends list.

You have to do this through Snapchat, rather than YOLO. Follow Snapchat’s guidance on how to remove and block friends.

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Talking to your child

Having open, regular conversations with your child will help you to really understand and explore the online world together. Our tips and advice can help you start these conversations.

Talk about staying safe online

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