Is your teen on dating apps such as Tinder, Hinge, or Bumble? This video, featuring Retired Investigator Moe McClanahan, will discuss the dangers of dating apps and why they can be particularly dangerous for teens. Dating apps have become one of the most popular forms of dating in the United States. Whether it’s for a casual hookup or to find a soulmate, more than 270 million individuals are using dating apps worldwide (https://www.businessofapps.com/data/dating-app-market/). Most online dating apps have age restrictions, however, this is can easily be manipulated to meet the minimum age requirement. In the past few years, more and more teens have been using dating apps as a way to meet new people and form relationships. This can seem exciting for them, yet terrifying for parents.
What are the dangers of dating apps?
There are many dangers of teens being on dating apps. These dangers include:
– Predators target teens on dating apps. There are many tactics predators use to coerce teens into talking to them including lying about their age, giving compliments, making empty promises, etc.
– Meetings in-person. If your teen has formed a relationship with someone on a dating app, they may be discussing how and where they want to meet face-to-face. This could include private locations. Teens often underestimate the dangers of meeting strangers.
– Picture exchange. Dating apps promote superficial relationships based on pictures. A naive teen may send suggestive or inappropriate images, or they may share pictures that provide location information, making it easier for someone to locate them.
– Scammers. In 2020, romance scams accumulated $304 million in losses. Using fake profiles and personas, scammers coerce teens into sharing personal information including bank information, social security numbers, etc. They can also send them links that will enable malware on their computer, giving the scammer access to their webcam (email us for a free webcam cover!). Recently, a 25-year-old airman from Florida was accused of raping an 11-year-old girl from Alabama. The two met on a dating app called Badoo. The messages were intercepted by the young girl’s father, which led to the arrest of the man.
What can parents do?
To avoid this happening to your child, here are a few things parents can do:
1. Check your teen’s devices. Make sure they are not using any dating apps. If your teen is using a dating app, check through their messages prior to deleting the app to ensure they are not being targeted or having inappropriate conversations. This could contain valuable evidence for law enforcement and could help save another child.
2. Put the app store in your name. This will require your password and notify you of all app downloads, including dating apps and chatrooms. As a parent, it is important to stay in control when your child has a smartphone.
Safe Surfin’ has created an Electronic Contract for you and your teen.This contract sets the rules for technology use and opens up the conversation of online safety. Download for free today!
Join Retired Investigator Moe McClanahan every week for live cyber tips on our Instagram!
The mission of the Safe Surfin’ Foundation is not only to protect youth from those who would do them harm, but pro-actively educating them in the safe and responsible use of today’s ever-changing technology. Together, we’re improving and saving lives. Help us continue educating kids online by donating today.