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Of all the dodgy people that exist on Tinder – creeps, misogynists, fuckboys and catfish – we didn’t know 13-year-olds were on the dating app as well.
Well, they are, but as of next week the Tinder teen party will come to a halt and parents everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief.
The 13-17 category is no more, and Tinder will ban anyone under the age of consent saying in an official statement it’s their “responsibility” to do so.
Given the hook-up nature of the app, this only seems logical.
Honestly, it’s not so much the move that’s shocking, it’s the fact that there were 13-year-olds using the app to begin with – according to a report, there was about one million users age 13 to 17 on the site. Tinder’s reasoning for allowing under-18s to use the app was to allow them to make new friends and connect with people – which was pretty naive of them.
Although anyone between 13 and 17 was only allowed to match with others within that age bracket, people – refer to the aforementioned creeps – can use fake profiles or change their age on Facebook to pass themselves off as a teenager in order to pray on barely legals.
Ever since the app was launched in 2012, child protection campaigners have been cautious of the age limits, and rightly so.
Research by the NSPCC reports that 59% of Tinder users have seen content on Tinder they would deem unsuitable for children, and 50% of teens polled in a Net Aware survey had been exposed to sexual material on the app.
Of course, kids have also taken a dip in the adult Tinder pool by lying about their age, as several Reddit threads report.
Online dating is seedy enough without it being a breeding ground for sexual predators and rebellious teenagers, and Tinder’s decision reflects policies already in place by one of their competitors, Bumble, and other dating sites such as Ok Cupid and Match.com, which all enforce an adults-only restriction.
It likely won’t be too hard to get around the restriction (changing your birthday on Facebook will do the trick) and while Tinder is great for meeting people, whether for one night stands or long term relationships, at 14 neither of those things should be on your to-do list (no pun intended).