What is Y99 chat? What parents need to know (2024)

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Internet Matters Team | March 8th, 2024

Internet Matters supports parents and professionals with comprehensive resources and expert guidance to help them navigate the ever-changing world of child internet safety.

What is Y99 chat? What parents need to know (1)

Y99 is an anonymous chat site from India that shares similarities with Omegle.

Learn about the site and its potential harms to keep teens safe online.

Summary

  • What is Y99?
  • Is Y99 safe for kids?
  • What are the potential risks?
  • Conversations to have with kids

What is Y99?

Y99 is an online chat room service from India that lets people anonymously chat with others. It mimics the chat rooms of the 1990s and early 2000s. Users only need a username to talk with others. Users can then enter chat rooms to talk with strangers via text or voice, or they can share photos and links to videos.

Some chat rooms require account verification instead of just a username. This means users must sign up and verify their account to join a chatroom.

In addition to chat rooms, users can privately chat with strangers. They can do this by choosing a user and starting a chat, or by using the ‘random’ feature on Y99. Like Omegle, the site then randomly matches you to another user.

What is Y99 chat? What parents need to know (2)Users can also create their own public or private chat rooms. They can choose to add a password or untick the option to ‘submit to Y99’s Search’.

Like chat rooms of the ’90s and ’00s, the website is chaotic and filled with ads, users and potential bots.

Why users might like Y99

Y99 has the nostalgic factor for some older users who chat on it. However, teens might like the ‘retro’ style, variety of chat rooms and the anonymity they can’t get from regular social media.

Chat rooms cover a variety of themes and topics — from ‘Teens Only’ to LGBT rooms and support for depression or other issues. As such, teens might find a community they identify well with. However, other options like Tumblr or Discord can offer similar, safer experiences.

Is Y99 safe for kids?

Y99’s safety features are minimal. It includes reporting and blocking features but little else.

The site doesn’t have clear age requirements to use the site. However, its privacy policy states that it does not ‘knowingly’ collect personal information from children under 13.

This does not mean the site is appropriate for children over the age of 13. In fact, it might mean the opposite. Y99 might collect personally identifiable information from anyone aged 13 or older. Additionally, it’s easy for users to click on the wrong thing and end up following an ad.

While Y99 does feature some age-restricted rooms for ‘teens only’, a user need only lie about their age to gain access. It’s impossible to know for sure that users in the chatroom are teenagers.

For the above reasons and other potential issues, we recommend those under the age of 18 to avoid using Y99. Instead, they should use more well-established communication platforms and social network sites.

See age-appropriate social networking platforms.

What are the potential risks?

Like Omegle and other anonymous apps, Y99 presents potentially harmful risks to children. These are some of them.

Harmful stranger contact

Children use the digital space to socialise and keep in contact with friends. The popularity and nature of social media and multiplayer video games means children regularly come into contact with strangers. While not every stranger they come into contact with is harmful, some certainly are.

In an anonymous platform like Y99, the risk of harmful contact increase. Even though some chat rooms blur images, clicking on them could reveal p*rnographic or violent content. Additionally, the private chats increase the risk of grooming, sextortion or other coercive behaviours.

Vulnerable children could face greater risk if they struggle to recognise harmful behaviours from strangers.

Scams or data breaches

Y99 is a simple website that features many ads from third parties. Some of these ads look like chat windows and could mislead users. Clicking on these ads will navigate users from the site and could lead to phishing scams or data breaches.

Additionally, some strangers might approach users with promises of ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes, fake competitions, false offers and more.

Learn about common scams that target teens online.

p*rnographic, violent and other inappropriate content

The instant message style of chat along with the number of users might result in exposure to inappropriate content. This could include images, video links or voice notes.

Y99’s rules warn against this kind of content. However, it seems that moderation is the responsibility of staff in each chatroom. It’s unclear what Y99’s moderation on a widescale is like.

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Conversations to have with kids

If your child uses or wants to use Y99, it’s important to speak with them about it. Additionally, if you do let your child use the platform, you should moderate the use closely and regularly check in.

When discussing Y99 with your child, here are some questions to ask.

  • Why do you want to use Y99? Understanding where their interest comes from can help you offer alternatives. Tumblr, Discord and even Reddit could offer alternatives to finding a community. If they’re more interested in the ‘instant’ aspect, they might be able to find an active Discord server to do the same.
  • What are the risks of using Y99? Let young people explain the risks and acknowledge potential harm. If they’re unable to recognise these risks, they might not be prepared to use the site. This kind of conversation can also help you identify missing knowledge.
  • What would you do if…? Talk about potentially harmful scenarios like receiving an inappropriate image or feeling uncomfortable because of a stranger. Explore the actions they know to take. Again, if they’re not sure, this might not be the right site for them.
  • Is it okay if…? Think about scenarios such as if a stranger asks for personal information or to meet on a different platform. Talking about what is and isn’t okay can help young people spot unhealthy behaviour immediately.

More to explore

See related advice and practical tips to support children online.

  • Inappropriate content resources
  • Online grooming resources
  • Online p*rnography resources
  • Socialising online safely

Support on site

  • Anonymous and decoy apps guide – What parents need to know
  • Why do teens use anonymous apps like Omegle?

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