Let us be clear here. Tinder is a hookup app. It might be positioned as a dating app, but it isn’t really being used that way. It is not a “find friends” app. It is used by people looking for casual, no-strings-attached intimate relationships. It is also used by predators, as was the case in the Midwest this month.
Twenty-four people in Wisconsin and surrounding states, including two teens, were arrested this week after using the Tinder app to target victims, some under the age of 18. The under-age nature of the targets was ascertained by police in the sting operation, as they (the police) were posing as 15-year-old girls.
The age limit on Tinder is 13, but like most age limits online there is no way for the company to enforce it. Ignoring possible users under 13, according to one of the founders of Tinder, over 7% of users are aged 13 to 17. Since Tinder has more than 10 million users according to recent reports, that could be almost a million teens. If your teen, male or female, is on Tinder, whether he/she intends it or not he/she is telling nearby Tinder users that sex is an option. At least that’s how it is perceived.
Here’s a handy guide for parents who happen to notice the Tinder app on a teen’s phone:
|If your teen is||Appropriate Parent Reaction|
|17 years old||“Don’t use Tinder”|
|16 years old||“Don’t use Tinder”|
|15 years old||“Don’t use Tinder”|
|14 years old||“Don’t use Tinder”|
|13 years old||“Don’t use Tinder”|
So parents, if you don’t like the idea of your teen getting solicited for sex by strangers, Tinder is a bad idea. If you’re worried about your teen being contacted by a predator, tinder is a terrible idea.
13 is the wrong age limit for Tinder. It should be 18+. If you see the Tinder app on your teen’s phone, see that it is deleted.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.