WDAY, FARGO — Police say predators are using a new social networking app to target children.
It only takes 30 seconds for someone to sign up for the app Yellow, and there’s nothing keeping users from lying about their age.
It’s like the popular app Snapchat, in which people exchange pictures with their friends.
In Yellow, it’s strangers exchanging pictures with users as young as 13.
It seems innocent enough, an app meant to help teens find new friends, but the new friend-finder Yellow’s harmless idea has taken a sinister twist.
The app allows users to chat and send selfies to one another, but police are saying it’s also an invitation for would-be predators.
Fargo police and even the FBI are warning parents to be careful.
“Be as proactive as possible, understand kids don’t always make the best decisions. Anyone can take advantage of social media and lie and create a fake account,” said Fargo Deputy Chief Joe Anderson.
It’s so easy I made a fake account in one minute.
Though intended to used as a friend-making app, many users have other intentions.
Yellow’s appstore reviews reveal the app’s seedier qualities.
“Parents can educate themselves and do various research on the apps out there,” said Anderson.
One user writes about getting naked pictures from “hot teens”
Another user writes about deleting the app every night so the reviewer’s mom can’t find it.
Yet another calls Yellow a dating app for kids as young as 10.
The Department of Justice says 1 in 7 kids are approached sexually over the internet.
The National Crime Prevention Council says it’s important for parents to talk to their children about safe online behavior.
“So they’re not victimized or worse trafficked,” said Anderson.
The council says children should never give out their address, phone number or even the name of their school.
“It goes back to having trust between parents and children,” said Anderson.
Police say there’s no fix-all when it comes to online safety, but say open dialogue can help kids make better choices.
Several predators have been caught lying about their ages on Yellow nationwide.
The Fargo Police Department issued its warning just a few weeks after a second Operation Guardian Angel sting caught eight men allegedly trying to meet a minor.