Is the Tinder App Safe for Kids?
A complete app review for parents
Description: Tinder is a meet and date app. According to the App store description, “Tinder is how people meet. It’s fun, free and effective….there are more than 26 million matches made on Tinder.” Although there is a “gotinder.com” website, the matching functionality only works through the app.
APP Store rating: 17+ (“infrequent/intense sexual content or nudity, frequent intense/mature/suggestive themes”).
What parents need to know:
Virtual Matchmaking – Using location services, the app identifies people nearby and shows photos of individuals. Users can either hit a green heart button or a red X button. Users are notified when someone gives a heart, but not when someone selects the X. Users are anonymous until both like each other, at which time identities are made and users can message each other. The app makes face-to-face meetings easy, due to how locations are revealed, making privacy concerns very real for parents.
Hook Ups? Tinder’s reputation is troubling, touted as one of the best “hook-up” or “one-night-stand” apps on the market. All based on a picture that might not even be real. UKnowKids.com says, “Online predators are an issue on any social media and this one will be no exception. With photos from Facebook on the site [combined with the location information] an online predator would have very little trouble determining the hang out spots of the teen they were after. ” Here is a recent article from Teen Vogue on what they discovered about the app – teens connecting with adults who quickly shift the conversation to sex.
April 9, 2019 Update: Snapchat plans to power its Stories within Tinder, so that users within Houseparty could see Snapchat Stories content from friends without ever leaving Tinder.
Parents should block this app, run the other direction, and take extreme caution when deciding if their young kids should use this app based on the risks noted.