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Police warn parents about dangers of new app 'Yellow'

Do you monitor your kids' cell phones? Or keep up with new apps they're using? There's one app that's gaining popularity in our area, and it could be putting your kids at risk. It's called "Yellow." It's marketed as a way for teenagers to make friends. It looks similar to the dating app Tinder. It connects you to others in your area without ever actually meeting them, but it could possibly connect your teen with a predator.

Colleen McNamara, a mother of teenage girls, said after hearing about the app she is going to monitor her kids' phones a little closer.

"It's scary. It's very scary," she said.

The app is targeted towards teens. They can sign up by simply typing their age, birthday, and gender. It will ask for a verification phone number, and then they'll be connected with other teens within a 60-mile radius. The problem is there is no age verification, which alarms St. Joseph County Police Assistant Chief Bill Thompson.

"Our concern is that people could create a profile that is completely different from who they really are and use this as another way to try and endanger kids or put people in some sort of jeopardy," said Thompson.

WSBT 22 did sign up using a fake account to show how easy it was. Within minutes, the phone was bombarded with photos of kids as young as 13 years old.

Thompson said the app needs to be on parent's radar.

"Parents have to be involved in their kid's online activities. They have to understand a little bit of the technology behind this and what some of these things, some of the platforms on these apps, can do," he said.

McNamara relies on her older kids to teach her about some of these newer apps.

"I'm not real tech savvy, so I don't know what a lot of these apps are," she said. "Most of the time, my older kids will tell me if my younger ones have apps that they shouldn't have."

Thompson said not everyone has older kids who can be on the lookout.

"We still get calls very routinely about 'Hey, this app is on my kid's phone, I don't know exactly what it does,' or 'I have seen this app and I'm scared and I don't know what to do.'"

Apps like Yellow make parenting, one of the hardest jobs there is, even more complex.

***WSBT 22 did delete the fake Yellow app account***

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