07 October 2015
The last few years have seen a big increase in the popularity of dating apps. Singles up and down the country are now looking for love online, with many using their smartphones to meet new people and set up dates.
Tinder is one of the best known dating apps in the UK. Easy and convenient to use, the apps lets users select or reject potential partners simply by swiping to the left or swiping to the right.
Although most people are aware of Tinder’s popularity among adults, what many don’t realise is that the age limit for the app is just 13. Though using Tinder won’t necessarily lead to CSE, it can leave younger users vulnerable to exploitation, especially if they are not educated about the dangers of online dating.
Do under 18s use Tinder?
The app claims that its younger members use Tinder to make new friends and broaden their social circles. However there is nothing to stop under 18s from using the so-called ‘hook-up app’ in the same way as Tinder’s older subscribers.
The only safeguard that Tinder has in place to protect underage users from predators is that is only allows 13 to 17-year olds to contact people in their own age group. However, as Tinder takes the age of its users from Facebook, there’s nothing to stop someone creating a fake Facebook page in order to contact younger users.
What’s the problem with Tinder for teens?
Many of Tinder’s users are on the app specifically to find people to ‘hook-up’ with. Conversations can quickly become explicit and there’s no guarantee that people are who they say they are.
Young people using Tinder can easily be drawn into sexting or even meeting up with people that they come into contact with on the app. This makes them vulnerable to CSE and could place them in potentially dangerous situations.
What’s more, as Tinder is based solely on physical appearance, it places a lot of pressure on young people to look grown up and to conform to standard ideas of beauty.
How to stay safe on Tinder
To stay safe on Tinder, avoid giving out any personal information to people you meet online and never send any inappropriate images or videos to online contacts.
As soon as another user has your phone number, your address, the name of your school or any inappropriate images of you, you can no longer control the situation and it could become dangerous.
If any users make you feel uncomfortable, block them from contacting you and inform the moderators. If they persist in trying to contact you, tell someone you trust straight away.
To find out more about staying safe online, check out the rest of our blogs posts or if you’ve been affected by CSE, call the Rose Project on 0808 800 1037.