Staffer Tries Yubo

Keerthi Lakshmanan, Perspectives Editor

Yubo and Spotafriend are social media apps notoriously known for being “teen dating” apps. They require you to build a profile—pictures and a short bio—and then set you against thousands of other users with a swipe feature. Both released in 2015, Yubo has grown more popular: it holds at #12 in Apple’s social networking category. It is intended for ages 13 to 25, and promises to “reinvent internet friendships.” Spotafriend is a bit more upfront: it calls itself “a Tinder alternative for people ages 13-19.” The Prospector thought it was time to put their descriptions to the test. 


Between Yubo and Spotafriend, I would easily place Yubo higher. It earns its popularity with a broader range of features than simply swiping—you can livestream with others and watch livestreams from people on an international scale. The interface is more accessible, too. Spotafriend only allows messaging after you match; in Yubo, there are ways to send friend requests and work from there. The difference is that Spotafriend is geared to be just a teen Tinder, while Yubo expands to giving you the opportunity but lets you decide how to handle it. 


In my experience, it was easy to meet people. I received a solid handful of cheesy pickup lines, like “imma tell law enforcement you’re essential because you’re a meal”, which is commendable. But it was nearly Herculean to actually connect with them past the perfunctory “hey, wyd?’ texts. It took a load of swiping and messaging before I found people that were willing to get to know me. I met a guy who did nothing but send me snaps of his jawline—not to deny that it was considerably impressive, but what’s a girl to do after a few days? I told another one the dog on his profile was cute and he left me on read. So as far as the dating aspect goes, it was a bit depressing. I did hit it off with a few people, but they would live half a country away in Michigan or Iowa; there’s no getting past that. 


Would I recommend these apps? Yes, for the thick-skinned. The adverse effects of any social media still apply. You need to be okay with putting yourself out there within a massive community—teen dating apps, if anything, are especially vulnerable to causing a lack of self-esteem or obsession with your profile.


I do plan to keep my Yubo account active. It is worth it for the few messages that do click like magic. I swapped music and the best Netflix shows with teens from all over the country, I watched live streams from kids like me and kids very much not like me, and each message I traded with a stranger was a peek into a new lifestyle.