Tinder and 7 More Dating Apps Teens Are Using

Learn about the popular apps teens use to meet new people, date, and — gulp — hook up.

When you ask a couple how they met, it’s pretty common for them to answer, «On the internet.» So, it’s no surprise that online dating has trickled down to teens. And though most opt for Snapchat or Instagram to widen their social circles, some are curious enough to try one of the many messaging apps that promise to help them «make new friends.» While these apps are designed more for casual communication than are the mainstream fee-based dating services such as Match and OkCupid, they make it super easy to text, video-chat, and share pics with strangers.

Tinder and 7 More Dating Apps Teens Are Using

At this point, most parents would say «no way» and stop reading right now. But these apps are a fact of life for many teens (especially LGBTQ youth who may not have a supportive community at school). So even if your kid doesn’t use one, they may get exposed to one through their friends. Also, the thrill of meeting new people in a seemingly consequence-free environment may pique the interest of any teen who thinks a cool new (boy-/girl-)friend is only a download away. That’s why it’s really important to discuss the very real risks these apps pose. Here are just a few:

  • Most of the «make-new-friends» apps aren’t intended for teens, but it’s easy to get around age restrictions, because registration generally involves just entering a birth date. This means adults can pose as teens — and vice versa.
  • Most are location-based — meaning they connect with people who are near you — which increases the potential for a real-life meeting with a stranger.
  • Because teens often share multiple social media handles on these apps, they can give strangers access to more personal information and intimate conversations.
  • Some of them have mature content like drugs and nudity.
  • The barrier to entry is very low: They’re mostly free and allow essentially anyone to join.
  • Less dangerous but still troubling is the heavy emphasis on looks as a basis for judgment.

So, what can you do? You can try to prevent your teen from installing dating apps by using parental controls or setting up restrictions that block off-limit sites or require them to get approval for all apps they download (learn how to do this in iOS and Android). These solutions aren’t foolproof, but they add a layer of difficulty that some teens may deem too high.

If you learn your teen is using dating apps, take the opportunity to talk about using social media safely and responsibly — and discuss what’s out of bounds. Keep lines of communication open, especially since teens sometimes hide these apps in «vaults» or apps that look harmless (such as a calculator). Talk to them about how they approach dating and relationships and how to create a healthy, fulfilling one — and note that these usually require more than a swipe.

Below are some of the dating, «make new friends,» and hook-up apps that teens are using. Note that this is by no means an exhaustive list, and there are plenty more like these in the app stores.

Hot or Not: This app was originally a website (and still is) and has gone through lots of iterations. It’s owned by the developers of Badoo, another dating app/site, and they share many dating profiles between them. They both rely on swiping left or right and location sharing and are almost exactly the same in terms of how they look and function.

What parents need to know: You can log in to both Hot or Not and Badoo using email or Facebook. If you sign up via email, you have to enter a https://www.hookupdate.net/escort-index/vista/ birth date that indicates you’re over 18, though there’s no verification. When teens 13 and older try to log in to Badoo via Facebook, they can, but the Hot or Not app doesn’t allow it. However, Hot or Not is also an app within Facebook, so teens under 18 can access it there. Teens can set the age preference of potential matches anywhere from 18 to 80, and most matches during testing were about 50 miles away.