Is Tinder Safe For Children?
Tinder is a “Dating App” with over 40 million users. Some refer to it as a “Hook Up” App. It certainly is NOT suitable for children.
Tinder was until recently rated 12yrs+ on the iTunes store, it is now rated 17+years . Despite the age rating many teens are still using it, apparently 7% of the 40 Million user are 13-17 year olds, who are using Tinder to find their perfect match within their geographical area. Tinder’s Terms Of Service still allow children 13 years and over to use Tinder, which is surprising. Tinder say that they won’t match a teen with an adult user, based on the age that is on their Facebook profile. But users have to be aware that there are plenty of fake profiles on Tinder, that are linked to fake Facebook profiles. There are many reports of teens being asked for sex through Tinder.
You do need to have a Facebook profile to use Tinder, so it means you might actually know the “Matches” or the “Match” might actually be a friend of a friend. Some teens are reportedly using Tinder just for “Fun” they have no intention of actually meeting matches offline, but it is still very dangerous.
How Does It Work?
Users create a profile on Tinder outlining their preferences, they then link their profile with their Facebook profile and Tinder goes to work to find matches within the geographic area you nominate. You then select potential “Matches” and swipe them left or right on the screen depending if they are interesting to you or not. Once you have accepted a “match” you can chat with them within Tinder.
Note: Tinder has just introduced “Moments” a “Snapchat” type of photo messaging option within Tinder, where you can send your Tinder match a “disappearing” photo. Not difficult to see where this new feature is going…It will be used for sending “matches” nude photos that are then supposed to “disappear” on Tinder. Screen capture and other methods of saving pictures is always possible with these types of “Snapchat” style photo messages.
Many people use Tinder when they are visiting new places or traveling, apparently it was a very popular app used at the recent commonwealth games.
There are also reports of pornographic spam accounts on Tinder set up to lure users to webcam style sites set up to scam users after users put in their credit cards.
The dangers Are:
- Children or teens meeting up and chatting with strangers.
- Fake profiles set up to look like a young, attractive person to lure a teen or younger user to engage.
- Spam profiles set up to trap unsuspecting users.
- “Moments” disappearing photos, tempting to use for nude photos.
What Parents Can Do:
- Check your child’s mobile device for apps you don’t approve or recognise
- For younger children enable restrictions or parental controls on mobile devices so that your child has to ask permission to be able to download new apps.
- Always research new apps for safety. This website and www.commonsensemedia.org have reviews on apps to help parents make educated decisions about app for children.
For more advice on apps, privacy and safety settings, see my cyber safety manual below.