Technology has meant that a number of activities and social events that used to take place solely in the real world have moved online. Online dating has grown considerably over recent years and it’s not just available for adults. There are now online dating apps for teens.
It’s important to know where your teen is spending time online. This isn’t just to look out for cyber bullying and know the type of sites they’re visiting, but also to watch out for online predators and the dangers of the internet. You need to understand the ugly truths about online dating for teenagers and how to help your teens remain safe.
Teens Are Using Adult Sites
Despite a number of websites claiming to be for adults only, many teenagers are taking to them. Sites like Tinder, Baddoo and Hot or Not don’t check the true ages of those signing up for them. All the sites do is encourage people to tell the truth. And if your teen wants to be a part of the sites, they’re going to lie about their ages.
Adult sites are full of people over the age of 18. While many are looking for genuine relationships, there are others scouring the sites looking for the most vulnerable people. One look at your teen’s photos and they will work out a rough true age.
Some of these sites will allow teenagers under 18 to sign up for the sites. For example, Hot or Not allows 13-17 year olds to create profiles, but they’re not able to chat. However, there’s no age verification.
Dating Sites Are Moving Mobile
A major concern for parents is that many of the dating sites are now opening up to the mobile age. They have apps that people can use, allowing them to slide and chat on the go. While this is beneficial for adults looking for relationships, there’s a danger for teenagers. You will find it harder to know what your teens are doing.
For teens, there’s an element of privacy. They don’t need to worry that you’re looking over their shoulder and they can feel more mature. However, they can find themselves in situations that you don’t know about.
Underage Teens Have Been Assaulted
There are horror stories of online dating apps for teens. In recent years, Skout, one of the more popular dating sites, has found itself in the middle of three cases of underage teens being assaulted by online predators. The good news is that this has led to some stricter controls from the site, but there are so many other online dating apps that don’t take this risk seriously.
It’s up to you as a parent to keep your teens safe. How can you do that when it’s harder to track the apps they use?
And then some apps are able to disguise themselves as something else. The names don’t always give the true intentions away.
Geo-Location Matches Are a Thing
Because of the ability to use through a phone, there’s now the ability to use geo-location. This is supposed to make local matches easier, especially since people around the world can use these sites. The idea is that adults are able to find local people interested in meeting up.
However, there is the danger that your teen can be tracked. First of all, your teen won’t understand the full details of meeting up with someone they’ve met online. There’s always the chance that your teen is meeting up with someone who has a more unsavory profile.
Second of all, there’s the ability to track through the geo-location. Someone with enough knowledge and skills about technology will be able to get to know more about your teen’s whereabouts, including where they live and where they go to school. This can put them in direct danger at times that you can’t look out for them.
Geo-location does have its benefits though. There are apps that will give you as a parent more control. You can hook up to your children’s phones, tablets, and PCs to monitor where they are and what they’re doing. You can also block access to certain apps and sites, helping to weed out some of the more dangerous dating apps for teens.
While your teenager may want to feel mature, they are at danger of online predators. Online dating apps for teens can be extremely dangerous, especially if you don’t know what they’re doing. While you may not want to ban the apps completely, knowing the dangers and discussing problems can help to keep teens safe while using them.