It’s hard to imagine the life of a modern American teenager without a smartphone. According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of teens claim they have a mobile phone. What’s more, 45% of interviewees use their smartphone regularly for various goals, including private interactions and romantic relations.
Although most dating services require a paid subscription, there are free dating apps, such as Tinder. Teens can easily install it on their phones and use it secretly, without their parents knowing about it. While the app involves restrictions for registering users under 18 to prevent kids from being on Tinder, there’s not much stopping children from using a fake age on dating apps, much like predators do.
If you want to know how to secure your teens from dangers that Tinder can impose, you need to have a good understanding of what is going on online. In this article, you will find out what Tinder actually is and what you can do to keep your kids safe.
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What Is Tinder?
Tinder is a popular free dating app that adults and teens use to find a mate. According to the Business of Apps data, Tinder counts over 57 million users in 190 countries. It processes about 1.6 billion swipes daily and has already made over 20 billion matches since its launch. The app was established in 2012, and, for a long time, it didn’t matter how old you had to be to use Tinder. So kids all over the globe could freely access it.
Tinder uses a GPS location tracker, Tinder Tracker, to find other people in your area who look for partners. If you like someone’s profile on Tinder, just swipe right (or left if you don’t like what you see). If two users swipe right on each other’s profiles, Tinder matches them. After that, they can use instant messaging to communicate, share photos, and arrange a date.
In comparison to other dating apps, Tinder buys users off with a simple registration process. They can instantly use the app, with no need to fill in long registration forms and verify personal information. However, this cool feature has a flip side.
The Dark Side of Tinder
Finding a matching profile sounds pretty innocent. Once the match is made, people connect, share interests, meet in person, and start dating. However, is this communication as harmless as it seems, and is Tinder good for teens in reality?
“Internet & American Life Project” by PRC says that 54% of online daters are “seriously misrepresented” in their profiles. They use fake photos, share wrong personal information, and lie about their age. About 28% of daters say they often feel unsafe and harassed when hanging up in dating apps. Also, 40% of college students in the U.S. who were interviewed about their Tinder experience say that the app is for hook-ups rather than building serious relationships.
Tinder indeed restricts access for underage users. So, how can a 17-year-old use Tinder? It’s simple. Because there’s no birthdate verification system on Tinder, users can lie about their age and freely create profiles. This is what makes Tinder a perfect hunting place for online predators. The truth is your kid’s friend or virtual mate can be someone with a sexually related mental disorder. Such people know how to detect kids among other Tinder users, grab their attention, and push to meet up. What’s more, there are known cases when predators made their victims share intimate content and then controlled young people by threatening them to spread that content online.
Danger also hides in the relationships between teens. They tend to use social media and dating apps to improve their social value, increase their rank, and define their popularity in society. Tinder can match your teen with a mentally healthy but carefree person who needs a hook-up to highlight their status. Such an experience can be pretty painful for a young mind and can result in lower self-esteem or unhealthy sexual behavior.
How to Deal with the Dangers of Tinder?
Before you can do anything to protect your kid from predators on dating apps, you need to find out if they’re actually using a virtual dating app. But many teens using these apps do so covertly, so they probably won’t tell you the truth if you ask them directly. So, how can you find out if your child is on Tinder?
If you don’t appreciate your children meeting strangers online but don’t want to bother with uncomfortable questions, parental control software might be just what you need. A virtual guardian like mSpy can help you watch over your kids without invading into their private life. With mSpy, you can browse your child’s online matches, contacts, and chats. The app lets you block suspicious contacts, reducing the chance for your kid to get groomed online. You can also track your kids’ location if you’re concerned about their whereabouts and safety.
All in all, it doesn’t matter how old you have to be to use Tinder as it doesn’t involve any personal data verification. So, you are the only hope for your teenager to stay safe in a wild ocean of digital predators. It’s never too late to make a wise choice and take your child’s safety under control. If you want to know more about setting up a secure environment for your loved ones, learn more about mSpy or contact our support team for more details.