For those singles who are seeking a quick, easy way to meet potential partners but don't want to jump through all the hoops of OKCupid or a paid dating service, Tinder is a great option. In case you haven;t heard of it, Tinder is an app that allows users to select an age range and distance radius they wish to see, then check out up to six photos of other users who fit into those guidelines. You swipe that person's photo to the right if you want to confirm your interest, or left if you're not down to talk more. If that user also swiped you right, then you get matched up and are free to talk. Simple, right?
Well, things get a little less simple when you consider who's on Tinder right now. While there are plenty of twenty-, thirty- and forty-somethings on the app, there has been a reported rise of teenagers using the app. In fact, 7 percent of users are between 13 and 17, and that's ... uncomfortable, to say the least.
That demographic even outnumbers the 35 to 44-year-olds, who make up just 6.5 percent of users. The primary user base is still 18 to 24-year-olds (who previously made up 90 percent, but now are at just 51 percent), but it is still unnerving to know that a bunch of high school and even middle school students are using an app to hookup with one another.
Considering the fact that when you're on Tinder, the age range you can select begins at 18 years old, that means a bunch of kids are using the app and pretending they're older — which is definitely not good. That said, the last several years have seen plenty of technology advances for the social lives of teenagers that were and are disconcerting to adults.
Not to play some sort of "back in my day" card, but, y'know, back in my day, texting was just becoming prevalent amongst high schoolers, which subsequently meant sexting was, too. Social media sites like MySpace were exploding with teenagers trying to meet one another and find some sort of Internet popularity. And Facebook, which was originally for college students, now has kids in the fifth grade socializing on it.
So while Tinder may be alarming to those of us who aren't still teens, it's important to keep in mind that kids have consistently utilized technology originally intended for adults and that it is not the end of the world — but it should be minimized as much as possible, especially in this case.
It is deeply important to talk to kids about what they are doing on their smartphones. Tinder is an app for adults, and it's commonly viewed as one that facilitates casual hookups rather than friendships or long-term partnerships. Basically, it's not a place children should be allowed on whatsoever, and monitoring their use of apps and smartphones can hopefully help dramatically decrease the number of teens under 18 using it.
What do you think about teens on Tinder? Tell us in the comments below.
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