Rachel Hynes, mum to a teenager and publisher of the website for parents of teens The Kids are All Right, believes that at the present time social networking sites remain the way in which most teenagers are meeting people and describes these connections, rather aptly, as the equivalent of modern day pen friends.Whilst Rachel has no data on how often teens who meet online are actually meeting up in ‘real life’, she is certain that it happens, particularly in cases where people live within the same area and have access to public transport and the excuse of going to an event where they can meet.
But Claire Lilley, head of online safety at the NSPCC, said the children’s charity is “deeply disturbed that sexual predators could use teen dating apps and websites to target young people.
Allowing adults and children to mix on services that are blatantly about flirting and relationships has the potential to put children at risk of abuse.”Last year a 28-year-old man was jailed for nine years after he groomed two girls aged 14 and 15 on mylol.com, which was described by the NSPCC as a “playground for paedophiles”.
You swipe left to dismiss someone and right if you're interested; if two users both swipe right on each other's profiles, it's a match, and Tinder opens a chat feature to develop the connection.
In less than two years, the app has made over a billion matches.
Unlike Tinder, Spotafriend claims to be an app for making friends rather than finding dates.
Mingle2 was created by 2 singles passionate about creating a new “online dating” culture.
“Allowing teens to use a dating app with a largely adult population is simply a bad idea: it invites danger.
We’re happy to see that Tinder is drawing this line, and we believe it will make younger users much safer,” says Spotafriend’s creator, Benoit Tessier.
At her senior prom in Texas, Becca was surrounded by hundreds of friends, classmates, and teachers she'd grown up with.
Her date for the evening, however, was someone she'd only known in person for a few weeks.
"I met him in real life unintentionally," she says.