“Dating” app “Tinder” has had their age restriction increased on the iTunes app store. It was previously 12+ it has now been increased to 17+ as have many other “Dating” apps on the iTunes store recently.
There has been quite a bit of negative publicity around Tinder lately in regards to teenagers using it to meet complete strangers online. The Tinder app requires users to link with their Facebook accounts to register, the Tinder developers point out that Tinder users aged 13-17yrs can only connect with other users the same age. However Recent articles have also suggested that it’s very easy to create fake teen accounts on Facebook, so adults can easily impersonate younger users to connect with teen users who use Tinder. The recent news articles also cited the 12+ or 13+ age rating, most were incredulous how an app like Tinder, designed for connecting with total strangers, could be allowed to be rated 12+ on the app store or 13+ as it is in the Tinder terms of service.
On doing a search for other well known dating apps on the iTunes apps store for this story, I notice that many of them
have also changed their age restrictions recently. Including “Zoosk” which was previously rated 4+! But “Scout” another well
known “chat with strangers” app, is still 12+ as are many other “chat with stranger” apps. Any app that has the word “dating” in the description appears to now require a higher age rating.
Age Restrictions On iTunes
The age restrictions on iTunes are inconsistent to say the least, and usually set by the app developers and not by Apple. Apple will sometimes insist that an app requires an adult age restriction, as they have done in the past, with video sharing app “Vine” which was also rated 12+ originally, and now is 17+ due to the amount of adult content within it.
I haven’t been able to find anything online to explain why the age limit for Tinder and other “dating” apps have been changed recently, in fact the Tinder terms of service still has the age restriction listed as 13+. But it may be that the negative publicity around teens using Tinder may have had something to do with the changes across the board.
The age restriction for Tinder and other similar apps now set at 17+ will help parents a bit more if they enable parental controls on their younger children’s devices to restrict apps rated 17+. But the parental controls are still not that effective, as there are still so many apps on the app store that should be restricted to adults, but are set much lower in age, like “chat with strangers” app “Badoo”, “Scout” and others.
Educators, Parents and Cyber Safety educators, would love to see more consistency with ratings on the app stores, more in line with the classification standards for movies, games and music. Consistency at least would help parents make decisions around the suitability of apps for their children and younger teens.
Of course age restrictions only help parents who keep a keen eye on which apps their children download. All apps for younger children need supervision and awareness of how they work, effective privacy settings, and the ability to report any abusive behavior.
www.commonsensemedia.org is a terrific place to get an idea of the suitability of apps, books, movies and more. Their mobile version of the website is also very helpful.