Teenagers Dating Apps That You Need To Know About

child using phone alone in her room

Is there such a thing as a dating app that doesn’t spell danger for teens? Frankly, we don’t know of any – but here’s a roundup of some of the worst of the worst.

If you find your child is using one of them – don’t panic and try not to judge. You want to open up a conversation, not to send your child deeper into hiding.

How? In a follow-up blog, we’ll give you advice from Family Zone’s top digital parenting experts on how to manage that tricky balancing act.

 

YUBO

Often called “Tinder for Teens,” it invites kids to swipe right to “like” and then communicate with other users. Widely alleged to be a magnet for sexual predators.

13+ (no age verification)

 

SPOTAFRIEND

The first sentence of its description in the App Store is “Spotafriend is not a teen dating app.” Except that’s exactly what it is. Kids swipe to become “friends” and start private chatting with strangers in their vicinity – located with GPS.
Spotafriend website content features “more than a friend” topics like “How to seduce a girl online.” Just friends, eh?

17+ (no age verification)

 

MYLOL
“Networking” and dating app supposedly restricted to users age 19 and under but notorious magnet for adult users plus explicit photos. Profiles can include pictures, sexual orientation and videos. “Privileged Members” pay for features like “Know who votes, winks and visits you.”

Warnings and controversy have surrounded MyLOL since its debut – most troublingly adults using the site to prey on children – yet it remains one of the top sites for teens.

17+ (no age verification)

 

HOT OR NOT

“Hot or Not” – and the name says it all – was one of the first hookup apps. In its latest incarnation as “The Game” it works in much the same way: users rate others’ attractiveness using a heart or an X. Matches can exchange messages.

One of the most disturbing apps for teen meet-ups.

17+ (no age verification)

 

MEETME
Parents have described it as a “creepy social network that features racy photos and suggestive talk.” Meetme was sued in 2014 for “lax privacy protections [that] give sexual predators a high-tech tool to exploit kids under 18.” Enough said?

17+ (no age verification)

 

SKOUT
Described by its developers as a “flirting” app, Skout presents users with potential matches by preference and proximity and promises to be “so much fun, you won’t be able to stop.” Teens earn points through creating a profile, uploading a pic and downloading advertised apps. Those points are used to explore prospects in more distant localities.

After widespread criticism that the app posed a danger to teens, Skout tightened safety protocols in 2012, but ages remain unverified and many teens simply enter a false birthday at registration.

17+ (no age verification)

 

Like it or not, we are all “connected parents” now, say Harvard experts Urs Gasser and John Palfrey. But while we shoulder a brand-new portfolio of responsibilities, we can still use traditional parenting strategies to get the job done.

Teens are now spending an average of nine hours a day online. Most kids are getting their first smartphones at age 11 or younger, and virtually all are using screens for classroom and remote learning. Even the majority of today’s toddlers own a mobile device.

The pace of change has been dizzying. A mere decade ago, the term “screen-time” was practically unknown. Today, the quantity and the quality of time children spend on their devices are consistently identified as a top concern for parents.

Issues around privacy and so-called “surveillance capitalism” – the practice of companies harvesting user behavioural data to drive profits – have also emerged as growing concerns for parents, not to mention policymakers and lawmakers.

The challenges that face mums and dads in this new digital reality are twofold, say Harvard experts Urs Gasser and John Palfrey:

  • First, to minimise risks to our children’s health and wellbeing; and
  • Second, to maximise their opportunities for positive engagement.

 

The five keys to excellent connected parenting

  • Have open and ongoing conversations about digital issues.
  • Embrace the positive.
  • Build skills and capacity to minimise risk.
  • Keep an open mind about new technologies.
  • Engage with technology yourself to remain credible and model good behaviour.

 

Want to know more about your child and their online experience?

Check out ZACHDEV – TECH PARENTING ebook today!

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