Young teen leaning against a brick building looking at his phone.

Yolo App for Snapchat: A Guide for Parents

by Screen Time Team on 14/08/2019

Snapchat hasn’t endeared itself to parents, with features like Snapstreaks that encourage using the app mindlessly. But a new addition, Yolo, is only going to make that dislike more intense. Here’s what you need to know about Yolo.

What is Yolo?

Named after the slang term (You Only Live Once), Yolo is an app that you sign into using your Snapchat credentials. Once you’re logged in, you use the app to ask for anonymous feedback. The user doesn’t know who’s weighing in, and there’s not a way to find out at the moment.

What Are Possible Concerns With Yolo?

Unfortunately, as we all know from being on the internet, once people can offer an anonymous perspective, they’ll tend to use it to be as cruel as possible. Previous apps that offered this feature, such as Sarahah and YikYak, quickly saw bullying. Even without cruelty, though, disputes and arguments teens and preteens get into tend to burn brighter and last longer with the fuel of anonymous feedback apps.

How Can I Tell If Yolo Is Installed?

You should see Yolo on your teen’s phone. It’s not a part of Snapchat, but a separate app with a separate icon. If you believe the app has been hidden, open up the app store and search for Yolo; it should tell you if the app is installed. Alternately, parental control apps will tell you what apps are downloaded and used.

Parents looking at their phones.

Should I Allow Yolo?

Allowing Yolo, or any anonymous app, is ultimately up to each family. The questions you should ask your children, and yourself, are simple: Is this app worth what you get out of it? Are you being treated the way you want to from the app? Can you handle it if somebody takes the opportunity to be cruel or thoughtless?

If you do decide to allow Yolo, set ground rules. Your kids, regardless of their age, shouldn’t be answering personal questions from complete strangers, and you should be allowed to see what they’re being asked. And make it clear that if you don’t like what you see, you’re going to pull the plug.

How Can I Keep Yolo Off Phones?

To prevent your kids from using Yolo, you should use a mixture of strategies. First, you should make it clear to your kids that you don’t want them using Yolo, and why. Make it clear that you’re worried about their mental health, and leave the door open for discussion.

Next, use the phone’s parental controls to block Yolo. Most phone operating systems will allow you to block certain apps entirely, and since Yolo is separate from Snapchat, you can block one without disabling the other. Keep an eye on the app, though, as apps can change over time.

Finally, use third-party parental control apps to block Yolo and to keep kids from downloading it, and also to keep them from disabling other parental controls. Parental control apps like Screen Time from Screen Time Labs can also be used to constrain how often kids use Yolo if you think your kids can handle it, and you just don’t want your family distracted from other tasks.

Parental control apps can help settle disputes and keep children on an even keel. To learn more, try it for free!

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