App Guide


Name: YouNow

Owned By: YouNow, Inc. 

Category: Social Networking

Operating System: IOS and Android 

Available for download: Yes

Desktop version: Yes 

Approximate release date: 2011

Age Rating*: Rated 12+ for the following:

  • Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes
  • Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence
  • Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor
  • Frequent/Intense Simulated Gambling
  • Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References

Brief Description*: Go Live on YouNow! On YouNow Live Streaming, you can interact with live streaming broadcasters and go live to connect with your audience. Have fun guesting on screen, taking selfies, sending gifts, and creating moments.

*Information from the App Store

  • Anonymous posting

    There’s no anonymous posting on YouNow.

  • Cyberbullying opportunities

    Similar to other social media apps, cyberbullying is plausible.

  • Inappropriate content

    Because the app is a live-streaming platform, it is difficult to control content posted on the app. There are reports of predators using the app to try to get youth to perform sexual acts on live stream.

  • Live Streaming function

    Users will stream themselves talking, playing music, dancing, singing, and even sleeping.

  • Messaging

    When users join a live stream, they can ask questions in the chat box.

  • Screenshot notifications

    Users will not be notified if live stream viewers take a screenshot of them.

  • Private live streaming

    Users cannot do private live streams, and they do not know who is on the other end of their live stream.

  • Hashtag use (use hashtags as a search/directory)

    Users can search trending topics as hashtags.

  • Scoring system

    When broadcasters earn likes from viewers, accumulate fans, and are promoted by viewers, they can move up different live streaming levels. Viewers can also send digital gifts to broadcasters.

  • Marketing (sponsored content)

    There’s no sponsored content on the app, but some users have found a way to make money while broadcasting.

  • Privacy settings

    Broadcasters do not know who is watching their live stream. All viewers are anonymous.

  • Location dependent services (must location for it to function)

    Personal information, such as location, can be determined by the environment the broadcaster is in. The app does not need location information to function.

Reviewed By: Ryan

YouNow is a live broadcasting platform. Users can use their laptop or the app to live-stream themselves to the platform where others can watch, comment, and send “gifts.” Per Wikipedia, most of YouNow broadcasters are under 24 years old. Users will stream themselves talking, playing music, dancing, singing, and even sleeping.

YouNow uses hashtags to let you search for various live-streaming topics. As of this writing, the top five trending hashtags on YouNow are: #girls, #guys, #ask_questions, #bored,and #lgbt. #sleepingsquad refers to those live-streaming themselves sleeping. Some individuals have found a way to earn money broadcasting on YouNow. A concern for youths live-streaming themselves is giving away too much information about themselves.

During my full-day trainings, I connect to YouNow to show individuals how it functions. During one training, within minutes of opening the website, we were watching a young person share the name of the town they lived in and its relation to a larger city close by. Most likely, by interacting with that youth and asking questions in the YouNow chat box, it would have been simple to garner more information about that youth.

I have concerns about young people trying to gain followers in attempts to achieve fame via YouNow. When I was growing up, my idols were on television, and I knew they were actors playing a role. I also knew I didn’t have the ability to be “famous” unless I headed to acting school and then Hollywood. With the invention of live-streaming platforms, kids have the potential to be “famous” without acting school and a lucky break in Hollywood.  I don’t want youth feeling they need to be “famous” at a young age through live-streaming themselves.

Any of these live-streaming platforms can be a hotbed for online grooming. Predators know the platforms that young people use and will go there to try to get them to perform sexual acts. LiveMe is another popular live-streaming app and even though the age restriction for LiveMe is 18 years, LiveMe reportedly deleted over 600,000 user accounts under the age of 13.

There are many popular live-streaming platforms available including LiveMe, Twitch, Facebook Live, and Instagram Live.  If your child is using YouNow or a similar service, have a discussion with them about the service. Have them show it to you and explain how it works, and then you can help develop rules and expectations around the use of the platform. 

Here is a technology contract that could help you guide that conversation and outline some rules for their live-streaming. However, I would not recommend YouNow for anyone under 18 years old.