NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - The popular dating app Tinder is supposed to be just for adults, but health experts are issuing warnings to parents that teens are signing up for the service.
Tinder is supposed to be for users who are at least 18 years old, but underage teens frequently sign up using a fake birthday and use the app as an extension of any other social media platform. The teens' profiles will list their age as 18, but in the user's description, they admit to being underage.
"It can really affect their sense of self, how they see themselves, in comparison to other kids their age and their sense of whether they are worthy or not worthy," said Teresa Grella-Hillebrand, Director of the Counseling and Mental Health Professions Clinic at Hofstra University's Saltzman Community Services Center. "There are always predators on apps like this who are also pretending to be something they're not, so if you have a 13-year-old pretending to be 18, you could also have a 35-year-old pretending to be 18."
In 2014, Tinder told British newspaper The Guardian that seven percent of its user base was under 18 and in 2016, barred any users under 18 from the app. However, according to several reports profiling underage users on the service, they were not kicked off.
"These tools include automatic scans of profiles for red-flag language and images, manual reviews of suspicious profiles, activity and user-generated reports, as well as blocking email addresses, phone numbers and other identifies associated with underage users trying to circumvent these restrictions," Tinder said in a statement to FOX 5 NY. "We also depend on our users to report any profiles that may depict a minor, so that we can investigate and remove, accordingly. We don't want minors on Tinder. Period."