Teenagers are risking their own privacy to make new friends online, a new study has found.

Research into online trends among teens shows that they are using social networking app Yubo to share content through secondary profiles, such as Instagram and Snapchat.

This is jeopardising their privacy and leaving them vulnerable, according to the DCU study.

It found that while sexually suggestive or sexualised images on profiles were very rare, around 80pc of users had their Instagram profiles on public.

This, researchers say, shows that a large number of users appear to mitigate their own privacy risks in favour of creating new online friendships.

Yubo itself has very strict policy on sexualised imagery and once flagged, it is removed and users can have their accounts temporarily suspended.

Liam Challenor, doctoral researcher at the National Anti-Bullying Centre at DCU, said that 15-year-olds are engaged in the most ‘risky‘ behaviours on the app.

“Yubo is an app that has become increasingly popular among young teenagers here in Ireland.

“Our research, the first into usage of this app, identified 15-year-olds as the most prevalent users of Yubo and represented almost one-third of the overall sample.

“We also found that this age group engaged in more ‘risky‘ behaviours on the app than other ages,” Mr Challenor said.

“While Yubo is making strides to make the platform safer for teenagers, it‘s important that parents and teachers are aware of how the app works and what sort of activity is going on on it.”

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The study also found that 54pc of Yubo users were male while 46pc were female.

Almost two-thirds were between the ages of 13 and 16, while 40pc were 16 or 17.

The study sought to understand a number of things including the extent to which teen users were using sexualised images on their profiles.

Irish Independent