“Teen Tinder”

Opinions Uncategorized
graphic by Dongyuan Fu

by Hanna Liauchonak, Opinions Writer

Yubo, a friend-matching service for teens, is the quintessential positive feedback loop: you can swipe endlessly and be rewarded with a match when swiping right on a person who has done so on your profile too. Most individuals on the app, myself included, intend on matching with users with whom they could see a romantic relationship; a “teen tinder,” if you will. 

Last December, a friend and I decided to download Yubo, and I ended up meeting a guy who lived in one of Newton’s neighboring towns. Exchanging Snapchats turned to FaceTiming, which quickly turned into an eventual date, in person. We have been dating for five months as of May. I am indebted to the app for bringing us together because otherwise, we never would have met. 

Invariably, as children of the internet age, you and I both have been made well-aware of the inherent risk and danger that comes with meeting a stranger online. Indeed, my decision to meet a guy from Yubo in person was met with considerable consternation. My friends, for instance, were utterly convinced that I would be sold and trafficked at the hands of a geriatric catfish. 

My verdict is this: be prudent. Exercise an appropriate level of caution. I would not denounce Yubo and its function to connect teenagers with similar interests, even if a risk comes with meeting the people you connect with on Yubo, or any online platform for that matter, in person. 

Surely the vast majority of Yubo users are never serious in their endeavors to find a dating partner. My aforementioned friend, for instance, has no desire to meet the people they have befriended on the app. I concede that my experience with Yubo is not the norm, but I encourage others to try to meet somebody meaningful on the app. 

I enjoyed my short time on Yubo and have recommended it to my acquaintances because I truly believe in the concept behind the app and its ability to bring like-minded people together, beyond the dimensions of the small fish pond of people with whom you interact on a daily basis. 

by Yana Kane, Opinions Writer

To “join, chat and make real friends” is regarded as Yubo’s mission statement, but in my experience, it has not been so effective. I first heard about Yubo from a friend whom I had often seen swiping through the app, the people she met being the topic of most of our conversations. I downloaded Yubo out of pure curiosity to see if it was worth the storage, but there was also a sense of deeper interest to hopefully connect with someone.

The number of users on the app felt endless, and the act of swiping left, indicating that  you are uninterested in the profile, was what took up most of my time. It was unusual to come across people with common interests and have the power to talk with them at the tip of my fingertips (quite literally), even though the app claims to recommend profiles based on similarities.

Every time I discovered someone my age who I was interested in talking to, the conversation never lasted. We would chat for a few weeks at most, the result often fruitless because I found it difficult to form a genuine connection with someone without meeting in person, which I was not comfortable doing. 

I also felt that I couldn’t use the app to its full potential because it requires purchasing a premium subscription for the most basic functions. I had over 500 friend requests that I was unable to view, which defeated the app’s main purpose: making friends and forming new connections. My efforts to access these requests, such as sharing a link to promote Yubo proved inoperative. 

It is also unfortunate that Yubo does not allow users to go back to the profiles they have swiped left on, or dismissed,without, again, making a payment. It is a frequent occurrence for me to accidentally tap the screen, making me miss out on potentially getting to know a new person. This experience only added to my frustration with the app.

That being said, I have to say that there were some favorable features about Yubo. My personal favorite was the available option to livestream because I enjoyed the entertainment. Yubo makes it easy to reach the streams, as the app connects your profile to multiple users’ pages, regardless of whether you are mutual friends. 

Unlike Instagram’s lives, where it felt awkward to share a piece of your personal life with classmates, streaming on Yubo doesn’t afford the same pressure because the people watching are strangers. This made the experience less stressful because I knew that we would not see each other again after this instance.

My takeaway is that Yubo is an app to download when you have simply nothing better left to do. Although it is fun to communicate with new people, I think that it is a complete waste of time if your goal is to form genuine relationships with other users.