Parents, police concerned new phone app is an open invite to predators

Posted at 7:15 AM, Mar 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-08 10:28:39-05

"I'm disgusted," Kayla Roper said.
"Dang, oh my god… I'm just shocked," Ricarla Carter said.
"Absolutely insane," Raynika Battle said.

They're looking at the hot new app: Yellow. It basically turns your snapchat into a tinder dating app. You see photos of people your age, near you. And then you can swipe them if you want to "be friends" the problem? Anyone can use it. And anybody can lie about their age.

Once FOX 47’s Scott Wolchek downloaded the app, he was instantly bombarded with a bunch of snapchat pictures of 13, 14 and 15-year-old girls. Now out of respect for privacy, we didn’t show any of those pictures on camera. But we did show them to parents, and they'll tell you what they saw.

"I mean, these kids are so young and anybody has access to them it's unbelievable," Roper said.
"Jessie is 13 in Brighton,” Carter said. “Some of these cities are small enough where if you go to visit, you definitely could find them."

If both people swipe each other, they get access to their snapchats and can send messages and photos. The app says it's 'just' for making friends...

"I mean, she might be meeting a friend, but not the kind that you want your young daughter to meet. Not at all. No," Carter said.

"Even if you thought it was innocent, once you actually look at it, you'd change your mind," Battle said.

"It's the perfect place for a predator to find children that's exactly what it is. It's an app for predators," Roper said.

Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth says meeting people online can be risky because you never know who's on the other side of the screen.

"Unfortunately, all too often this 'hey i just met this person who says they're 13 on Facebook or yellow or snapchat or whatever' turns out to have a tragic end," Sheriff Wriggelsworth said.

Sheriff Wriggelsworth says the best way to protect your kids is by talking with them and keeping an eye on their apps.

"Periodically check what they're doing and stay in constant communication and if something doesn't feel right in your gut, trust your gut," Sheriff Wriggelsworth said.

He says as a parent, don't be afraid to look at your child's phone or even take it away.

The app does have a tool for flagging profiles that are suspicious or contain sexual content.
You can also choose certain privacy settings, like whether to show the city you live in.