With more than 9 out of 10 teens in the United States using social media, it is not surprising that a large number of them are connecting via various dating apps. Dating and sexual exploration are normal teenager behavior; however, the risks of teens using dating apps expose teens to many dangers and consequences they are not prepared to handle.
With acceptability of social media, the popularity of dating apps has grown at an alarming rate. What to talk about kids, even the adults are not safe on these dating apps like Grinder, Tender, Kik Messenger and Down. As the use of smartphones has increased, the number of apps for entertainment, killing time and social interaction has hyped as well. Nowadays, millions of people are using dating and hook-up apps that not only engaged them in useless activities but also impact them. The current statistics revealed shocking facts about the effects of these ostensible hook-up apps. The crimes associated with these dating apps have grown seven-fold in last two years. Rape, grooming, sextortion, and attempted murders are on the peak when it comes to dangers and impacts of such apps.
How to protect teen from dating apps
Teenagers are vulnerable to the explicit online sites. They are more curious about these things and end in bigger problems. The technology has reduced the distances and allowed us to contact the person we want in lesser time. This is the one side of the picture. The distances that converted the earth to a global village has also brought some unwanted people close to us. Online dating is one of the examples of such closeness. There are many online dating websites that are registering the youngsters, especially the teenagers, and leading to astray.
As you can imagine, most dating sites, including the ones specifically intended for teenagers, have their risks. Dating apps require personal information in order to generate matches, and while users are virtually searching for their soulmates, they are also unwittingly allowing access to information that anyone can use to find them.
Combine this with the fact that one can ever really know the person behind the profile and you have a recipe for disaster. The danger is amplified for anyone under the age of 18, where peer pressure, curiosity and naivety can bring them to overshare and make poor decisions while searching dating apps for potential romantic matches.
Be Cautious if Your Teen Use These Dating Apps
It goes without saying that most parents don’t want to find their teens using dating apps on their smartphones and tablets. But do you know the names of some popular dating apps? While Facebook has been known to be a conduit for meeting others in social circles, the primary purpose of Facebook is much broader than creating a place for singles to meet virtually. The Internet and mobile technology have expanded our capabilities rapidly in the past decade, and meeting people online is now more common than ever thought reasonable in the past.
Dating sites are still plagued with many of the problems as before and there is still an inherent danger associated with meeting people online. Posting pictures and locations at a dating site can quickly attract the wrong kind of attention, and there are countless fake profiles out there, used by strangers to extract as much information as they can while keeping their true identity secret. Most sites do not have a way to keep the wrong kinds of people from signing up, making dating sites very kid-unfriendly. A child should not be engaging in parts of the Internet where they would get approached by adults looking for a date. Sites like Facebook are generally okay because the parents are using the sites too, and no one wants to misbehave where their parents can see. A general rule of thumb is that if your child is using an app that they would not want you to use as well, then they are probably getting into something they shouldn’t be.
Negative impacts of the online dating apps
The dating apps register you with your credentials and then give you a list of other people that you want to look. The registered people can be filtered by the age, place, and other attributes. One can find the person of its choice and then have a date with it. This is the ideal scenario, but in fact, this is never the case. These websites are corrupting people to great extents. There are many factors in the dating apps that make them lethal for the people, especially the teenagers. Here are some of the factors.
- The dating accounts are, many a time, fake and the person who is being displayed on the profile picture is not talking to you. They are deceiving you and may harm in many ways.
- There are fake people who want to use you in different illegal and activities and come close to you by using the advantage of being portraying themselves to be from opposite and attractive sex.
- Even if you are talking to any genuine person then the teens, especially girls are in grave danger because you cannot expect to have a nice and good person talking to you. All you can find here is a group of thugs and explicit-natured people who will cause you more harm than good.
- The problem is that the teens are more attracted to such stuff. The newly founded sexual desires and the attractive presentation of sexually explicit material make them more vulnerable to such stuff. All they get in return in problems and bigger problems.
- Oversharing is another problem with these websites. When teens register their account, they give all their details on them. This lets the other person know you more precisely and accurately. The online predators are always looking for someone like this.
Parents can attempt to restrict access to apps rated as +18 using parental controls on smartphones and tablets. However, many apps are rated +12 even when they require you to be over 18 to sign up, such as with OKCupid.
So, when teens do use dating apps, with or without parental permission, what are some of the consequences? Worst case scenarios include cases of rape and sexual assaults. Even when the interaction is meant to be exclusively online, various dating apps that use GPS to match users can be used by predators to target a victim.
Here are some of the most common apps, how they work and why you should be cautious if your teen is using these dating apps.
Classically the word “tinder” refers to some dried out flammable material that only takes a tiny spark before igniting into a roaring flame. As a smartphone app, Tinder is a matchmaking application that takes two like-minded people, brings them together and sees if a spark might ignite romantic relationships. Tinder users sign up only by signing up with a Facebook account. Once Tinder is provided access, it runs a search of a user’s preferences against friends and friends of friends on friends list and also looks for known Tinder users in any geographical area to look for matches. Each user looks at photos other users have posted and show approval or disapproval. When approvals are secretly reciprocated, Tinder opens up a line of communication for the two to converse.
Tinder is designed for adults, but teens who use the app usually have a secondary Facebook profile for these kinds of apps where they lie about their age. Teens might derive self esteem from feeling attractive and might even convince themselves that they are only there to find peers or just for entertainment. But this opens the door for adults to not only find your teen within a few miles, but also to initiate conversation with them. Tinder is a recipe for disaster if it is on a teen’s phone. Look out for it and make sure they knock it off.
this online dating app has taken over the social media world and attracting thousands of users to become members for meeting their desired peers. This hook-up app is location based and supports when it comes to discovering mutually interested partners. The users who are interested in each other share photos, enjoy a chat and decide for their dates.
When you say it out loud, this app sounds a lot like the one before it. It is similar in a lot of ways, but Blendr was a heterosexual spinoff from a popular homosexual hookup app named Grindr. Blendr has the option to link with a user’s Facebook page and contacts, but these are not required. Blendr works by finding other Blendr users in any geographical location and showing users photos of each other. Each user grades the photo’s attractiveness at face value and positive matches lead to conversations within the app and often leads to meeting face-to-face pretty quickly. Adult singles use the app while at concerts, sporting events, out shopping or even at home. Many couples have met each other while using the app who would otherwise hardly crossed paths.
The app is not suitable for teens because they say so in their Terms. Teens should not be using adult dating apps for any reason, and Blendr is no exception. Teens who expose their identity on these dating sites also give an indication of their daily locations to countless faceless strangers. The app is plagued with users who share and post naked pictures within the app, either as a joke or as a mistakenly held notion that it would help generate interest. The vulgarity alone is reason enough for many adults to stay away from Blendr.
This app is in no way a sequel to a popular Disney movie. Down is an app that is not suitable for children, nor considered tasteful by many adults. The application is linked through an adult-aged Facebook account and like many others, it looks for other users within a friends list and friends of friends’ lists. The app is intentionally explicit, asking users if they would be “down” to have sexual intercourse with someone based on their profile photo and the fact that they already have a connection on Facebook. When two users are “Down” the app opens up communications and lets them go from there. The app can also match users with those who one would want to get to know better for more than just one night. This app is used by promiscuous singles and for those who have a specific goal in mind for meeting people on a tight schedule.
So, what can parents do to minimize the risks of dating apps? The first line of defense involves communication. Talking to your teen about the danger of dating apps and encouraging healthy, safe choices is essential for minimizing risks. If you choose to allow your teen to use dating apps they should always be treated like other social networks in which a parent requires the teen to share the password and maximize privacy controls. If you choose to limit or block these apps from your teens, using a parental control software such as CRT on all of their mobile devices, will help to protect them from potential mistakes and dangers.
The protection is the CRT. It will let you know where your teen is by the GPRS locator. The calls and logs can also be checked if there is something wrong happening. The online history can also be monitored, and you can save your loved one before getting into bigger problems. The voice can be recorded and heard remotely by the services provided by CRT. It will help you in knowing what the teen is talking about. You have to vigilant enough for your children when they are in this age as there are predators sitting outside waiting to come on the path of dating apps.