Parents know Tinder, ranked in the top 5 most widely used dating apps by today’s adult singles, reported they estimate that at least 7% percent of their adult app users are actually under the age of 18. With Tinder’s estimated monthly user base of 50 million people, that means 350,000 teens are engaging with adults each month. Because Tinder’s functionality is based on geo-location, it allows users in a nearby zip codes to meet up quickly and easily; which can become a parent’s worst nightmare.
“We’ve all seen teens use apps like Facebook and Instagram before the required age because there’s nobody validating account information.” commented Erika Miller, Director of Online Safety for WebWatcher, a leading parental online monitoring software. “Online dating is no different. Kids can put in any information they want in their Tinder profile, and it is not validated by any authority.”
Tinder’s reputation for being a casual, hook-up dating site leaves another reason for parental concern. Most teens find exploring dating opportunities awkward. Online dating sites like Tinder have removed the awkward barriers of in-person introductions while allowing people to meet a high volume of people with one quick swipe. While wonderfully efficient for adults, it is extremely dangerous for teens as most parents are ill equipped to supervise their teens digital activities.
Detective Rich Wistocki, Head of Naperville Internet Crimes Unit states that parental supervision is key, “We must start with training and empowering parents by giving them the tools they need to discuss these issues with their teens and stay aware of their online activity.” Tools such as WebWatcher are a must for any parent who wants to responsibly supervise their kids online activities
Teenagers don’t have the experience or foresight to see these potentially dangerous adult situations they might be entering into.” Added Erika Miller. “This app goes from ‘swipe right’ to ‘meet me for a drink’ so quickly, a teen can be easily persuaded to meet someone in their immediate area without taking the time to consider the dangers and potential consequences of meeting a perfect stranger. It’s more important than ever, that parents are aware of what their teens are doing online, who they are speaking with and if they are entering into a hazardous situation.” By using an online monitoring tool such as WebWatcher, parents can see what apps have been dowloaded, who is being called and texted, and where they have gone online as well as in real life, all from the convenience of a secure online interface.