Unless you’re single, you might not be familiar with dating apps such as Tinder, where users can quickly swipe through prospective dates. But it’s likely your teenage knows all about these apps — even tho’ they’re mostly designed for adults. According to the company’s own estimates, about seven percent of Tinder’s users are age 13 to 17.
Albeit adults use these apps both for casual hookups and for scouting out more long-term relationships, they’re risky for teenagers. For starters, albeit many of the apps aren’t intended for them, it’s effortless for savvy teenagers to get around registration-related age confinements. Secondly, adults can pose as teenagers and vice-versa. Location-sharing increases the potential for a real-life meeting, less dangerous but still troubling is the mighty emphasis on looks as a basis for judgment.
It’s possible that teenagers are only testing boundaries with these apps. Many are anxious to be on the same wavelength as their 20-something counterparts, and the prospect of meeting someone outside their social circle is arousing. And with so much of their social life happening online, teenagers feel comfy using apps to meet people. But these apps are not a safe way for them to explore dating.
If you learn your teenage is using dating apps, take the chance to talk about using social media securely and responsibly — and discuss what’s out of bounds. Keep lines of communication open, talk to them about how they treatment dating and relationships and how to create a healthy, fulfilling one — and note that they usually don’t begin with a swipe.
Below are some of the adult dating apps that teenagers are using.
This flirting app permits users to sign up as a teenage or an adult. They’re then placed in the adequate peer group, where they can post to a feed, comment on others’ posts, add pictures and talk. They’ll get notifications when other users near their geographic area join, and they can search other areas by cashing in points. They receive notifications when someone “checks” them out but must pay points to see who it is.
What parents need to know. If your teenagers are going to use a dating app, Skout is most likely the safest choice, if only because it has a teens-only section that seems to be moderated reasonably well. However, ages aren’t verified, making it effortless for a teenage to say she’s older than Eighteen and an adult to say she’s junior.
Tinder is a photo and messaging dating app for browsing pictures of potential matches within a certain mile radius of the user’s location.
What parents need to know. You swipe right to “like” a photo or left to “pass.” If a person whose photo you “liked” swipes “like” on your photo, too, the app permits you to message each other. Meeting up (and possibly hooking up) is pretty much the objective.
Trio. Badoo. This adults-only app for online dating-style social networking boasts more than 200 million users worldwide. The app (and the companion desktop version) identifies the location of a user by tracking his or her device’s location and then matches pictures and profiles of potentially thousands of people the user could contact in the surrounding area.
What parents need to know. Badoo is undoubtedly not for kids, its policy requests that no photos of anyone under Eighteen be posted. However, content isn’t moderated, and lots of sexual photos demonstrate up as you browse.
Four. Hot or Not. This app began as a website over Ten years ago and has gone through lots of iterations since. It presently exists as a location-based app that shows you the greatest — or most attractive per their rating system — people nearby.
What parents need to know. Users must very first set up an account of their own, with photos — and must verify their identity with a working email address or a Facebook account and their mobile phones. The site says it will not accept a profile unless the user is 13 or older and that users 13 to 17 can’t talk or share photos with users older than 17 — but there’s no age-verification process.
Five. MeetMe. MeetMe’s tagline, “Talk and Meet Fresh People,” says it all. Albeit not marketed as a dating app, MeetMe does have a “Match” feature where users can “secretly admire” others, and its large user base means fast-paced communication and ensured attention. Users can talk with whomever’s online, as well as search locally, opening the door for potential trouble.
What parents need to know. Very first and last name, age, and ZIP code are requested at registration, or you can log in using a Facebook account. The app also asks permission to use location services on your teenagers’ mobile devices, meaning they can find the closest matches wherever they go.
5Omegle. One of the older, more established anonymous-chat apps, Omegle lets users commence out anonymous, but they can (and do) share information such as names, phone numbers, and addresses.
What parents need to know. Albeit not an official hookup site, Omegle gives kids the chance to share private information and potentially set up IRL (“in real life”) meetings with the people they’ve met through the app. Adding an “interest” to your profile also makes it possible to match like-minded people. Talk on Omegle often turns to hook-up very quickly, and it encourages users to “talk to strangers.”
Want more? Check out these related posts at Common Sense Media