Yubo knows that with every generation, the marketplace experiences a shift in consumer demand. Baby boomers, for instance, lean toward products and services that offer great value, while millennials seek those that offer affordability and accessibility. However, as Gen Z grows older and becomes the most prominent group of consumers today, companies across the globe are seeing a demand rarely experienced before – the demand to support social change.
Members of Gen Z – loosely, those born between 1995 and 2010 – are true digital natives. From their earliest youth, they have been exposed to the internet, social networks, and mobile devices. Gen Z is also the first group to put social change ahead of savings. In fact, they are often willing to spend more to support a cause that they believe in. Along these lines, they tend to support tech companies that align with their values.
Leaning into this trend and adopting a Gen Z mindset is Yubo, a social live-streaming platform that celebrates the true essence of being young by providing users a platform for meeting people, socializing, and learning about themselves and the world around them. Launched in 2015, the app has already attracted more than 60 million Gen Z users, with 99% of its user base made up of Gen Z. Designed to attract this unique generation, Yubo has taken action to support the initiatives important to its core audience members.
Throughout history, the term “identity” has continued to evolve. In the past, the word was associated primarily with an individual’s racial, religious, or political perspective. Now, however, it has expanded to incorporate characteristics such as cultural connections, gender identity, and social values, to name a few.
In response, Yubo has created a social platform inclusive of all identities – in fact, the app offers its users the opportunity to connect with those who hold similar values, no matter where they are in the world. The Yubo team shares, “We have a responsibility to help younger members of the Yubo community develop a positive identity. A recent survey from [UK Safer Internet Centre] found that a quarter (25%) of 13- to 17-year-olds had been bullied or attacked online because of their sexuality, race, religion, disability, or gender identity. We have zero tolerance for bullying and discrimination – we provide industry-leading safety tools and take action against reports of racism, homophobia, and other online hate on our platform.”
Yubo even shares tips for promoting a positive identity online: “Be proud of who you are – don’t pretend to be something you’re not or filter out any aspects of your life. Be kind to others – nasty comments can be extremely hurtful and might even be illegal so always think before you post. Be vigilant – if you or someone else experiences discrimination or harassment on Yubo, report it to us immediately so we can take action.”
Supporting the LGBTQ+ Community
One group that has long struggled with identity acceptance – especially when it comes to acceptance from others – is the LGBTQ+ community.
To promote inclusion, Yubo offers 35 gender identities and 50 pronouns in multiple languages. According to Yubo representatives, “Our CEO and co-founder Sacha Lazimi notes that we want our entire community to feel accepted and included. We’ve already built a platform that is not focused on followers or ‘likes,’ and, by providing LGBTQIA+ young people with a range of gender identities and pronouns for their Yubo profiles, we’re going even further in helping our users represent themselves authentically.”
Focus on Racial Justice
In addition to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, Yubo has started focusing its attention on the subject of racial justice. The company’s website reports: “When research firm Ypulse asked teenagers and young adults in the U.S. ‘What is the biggest problem your generation faces right now?’ The answer was racism and discrimination. Our own poll of Yubo users in the U.S. (14 June 2020) revealed that 88% feel that Black Americans are treated differently [from] others; 86% of respondents think that peaceful protests/political demonstrations are necessary to create significant change, and 77% have posted on social media to support equality for Black Americans.”
In response to these findings, Yubo has taken the time to share information about racial justice with its users. In a recent post titled “Racial Justice: Definition, Initiatives, Organizations,” the Yubo team offers insights into one of today’s most pressing matters. The company defines racial justice as “the systematic fair treatment of all people, resulting in fair opportunities and outcomes for everyone,” and follows up by sharing what organizations and individuals can do to support or promote racial justice. These groups include Black Lives Matter, a dynamic, chapter-based, international organization whose goal is to create a world where violence is no longer inflicted on Black people; Color of Change, the country’s largest online racial justice organization that addresses racial inequality through corporate and government campaigns; Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ), a group using community organization, mobilization, and education to move white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for racial justice; and, Black Youth Project, a platform for the ideas and voices of Black millennials.
In addition, Yubo has teamed up with activist Kaia Allen-Beven, the organizer of Brighton’s Black Lives Matter protest, to host a special racial justice Live Session. During this Live Session, “Kaia, her friend Mahalia Murphy, and two U.S. activists talked about their own experience with blackness, racism, and what it means to be an activist and an ally. She asked questions that challenged the participants and created a space for vulnerability, sharing, and growth.”
Yubo is continuously taking action for racial justice. The Yubo belief is that “we can make a difference, but only if we all stand together.”
Fighting the Mental Health Stigma
The stigma associated with mental illness can lead to feelings of shame and self-consciousness, often worsening the impact of the mental health condition. Members of Gen Z, however, are fighting the mental health stigma, bringing its issues and concerns to the forefront of society. Yubo has taken the initiative to support change in this area, both by creating a new platform based on inclusivity and by providing education for both users and the general public.
The Impact of COVID-19
Mental health concerns have increased globally as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic—adolescents who were forced to remain inside without opportunities to socialize turned to digital platforms for connection. “At a time when young people should have had the freedom to explore who they are, doing whatever it is that they enjoy, and gaining skills for the future, their lives were put on hold for many uncertain months. As everyone around them also seemed super-stressed, it was even harder to be open about how they were feeling. For some, this led to increased feelings of anxiety, stress, and low mood,” explains Dr. Richard Graham, consultant psychiatrist, clinical director of Good Thinking, and member of the Yubo safety board.
Unfortunately, not all social platforms offer a healthy outlet for teens. Users who turned to Yubo during the pandemic were offered a new way to interact without having to worry about performance and image – one that instead encouraged authenticity and did not rely on “likes” or “follows.” “The Yubo team has built a social media platform without influencers, followers, or likes, and works hard to promote kindness, positivity, and resilience,” explains Annie Mullins OBE, a safety advisor to Yubo. Instead, the company encourages individuals to connect with those who share similar beliefs and interests and removes the popularity aspect of social media. Furthermore, Yubo took the initiative during the global crisis to create an in-app mental health awareness campaign through its partnership with NHS-approved digital mental wellbeing service Good Thinking.
“Our focus at Good Thinking is on encouraging good self-care. We offer tips, expert advice, and NHS-approved apps to help reduce stress, anxiety, and low mood and improve sleep,” explains Dr. Graham. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we created an advice hub that includes tips to help young people and their families deal with any concerns they have and become more resilient.”
An Ongoing Fight for Change
Whether it is supporting social or racial justice, promoting identity acceptance, or creating an environment that supports mental health, the Yubo app team continuously works to support its diverse community of users. Targeting Gen Z and truly listening to what matters to them, Yubo and its users have a chance to make a definitive change when it comes to today’s most pressing issues.