The Tinder app works on some smart phones and other touch screen devices, as the user must swipe the screen to interact. You swipe on a green heart for “yes” for someone you find attractive or a red x to reflect “no” for someone you don’t. Then you get matched with the people who also find you attractive.
Tinder uses Facebook to verify the ages of users, but even with Facebook’s security, younger users (and older ones) can potentially falsify information.
Although adults have said it’s used to set up one-night stands, it is mostly used by teens to meet up. The problem is that there is profanity, nudity, and other sexually explicit material easily accessed on the app.
The dangers of kids using Tinder
The app can reveal a user’s location for meet-ups.
Identities of users may be faked.
Sexual predators may use information in the app to groom children.
Kids may be cyberbullied or worse when using the app.
Online chats are not the healthiest ways for kids who are strangers to get to know each other.
The main feature of the app is judging strangers based on their profile pictures, which is hardly the best way for kids to get to value others.
Chats quickly become sexual and this may encourage sexting (or meeting up for actual sex). (ChicagoNow)
Obviously the wisest choice for parents to make would be to ensure that the app is blocked on their kids’ touchscreen devices and to ensure that they understand the dangers of interacting with strangers online. If you’re not sure that it’s that bad, take a look at this terrifying Facebook page:
There has been a push from several advocacy groups and others to get Tinder to up the age restriction to 16 in order to protect kids.
One other risk: if you’re a single parent using a dating app, it’s not advisable to use pictures of your kids as your profile picture.
Should dating apps have age restrictions of 16?