Beware of YouNow Predators

Does your child have the YouNow phone application? If so, you should know that obscene videos can be sent via this live streaming app.

That's what an 11-year-old girl in Boston found out recently.

Kids like this app because through it they can livestream with each other. The girl had received a message that a follower had sent her the video. Naturally, she was eager to check it out, not knowing what it was, thinking it was from a friend.

But before she opened the video she checked the sender's other followees-which were all young girls. She assumed the sender was a girl her age, not some grown man.

The video showed a man doing "private" things. The girl freaked, told mom and mom freaked. The girl's mother reported this to the police, but soon after, the perv deleted his following status and was untraceable. He wasn't dumb, either, having used jumbled characters for a username that the girl couldn't recollect.

Users of YouNow actually must be 13, but that doesn't change the fact that it's easy for kids to set up an account and predators to set up accounts and send out obscene videos.

YouNow responds that parents should visit the app's Guide for Parents and also take a look at the Community Standards & Site Rules. YouNow assures that users who violate their standards will be promptly disciplined-if they can be traced, of course. But the damage is done. And the girl and others like her, can't un-see what they saw.

Some kids will spend inordinate amounts of time watching and streaming real-time videos through this application. Parents will need to ask themselves if they think it's beneficial for their kids to spend hours doing this.


YouNow offers:

  • The ability to watch hundreds of videos without even having an account
  • To broadcast a live video, the user must sign in with Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.
  • If the user is following others and one of them goes live with a video, that user will receive an alert.
  • The ability for sicko predators to connect with your kids
  • The ability for your kids to sign up unless you monitor their devices and restrict access.
  • Bullies won't have trouble figuring out how to use YouNow as a tool for bullying.
  • If your child is getting harassed, assure them that life will go on after deleting the application and avoiding the YouNow website.
  • If your 13+ child is on YouNow, mandate that your child not use their real age, name, address, name of school or phone number, or any other detail that could be used to find them.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.