The idea of your teen using social media shouldn’t be surprising, but what does shock parents is that kids are often using these apps for hooking up. What’s worse, is that many kids aren’t even old enough to use these dating apps, but a lack of age verification makes it easy for them to sign up.
The team at Cyberwise has created a list of the top teen dating/hookup apps to help parents navigate their teen’s social media usage. Below is a breakdown of each platform, and we have embedded Cyberwise’s downloadable PDF at the bottom of this post.
Often referred to as the top dating app for adults, Tinder has a surprising amount of teens on the platform. Even though the age requirement is 18, kids just need to figure out the right month/year to make themselves appear to be 18 years old and they can easily join. Needless to say, this can expose them to much older and more sophisticated online users.
The popular dating app’s interface is often compared to a game-like structure, where a user swipes right to ” like” on a profile or left to “pass.” If someone you swiped right for swipes right for you, it’s an instant match. Once matched, users have the opportunity to directly message each other.
There are plenty of free dating apps on this list…
Kik is a free messaging app (just like text messaging) that allows users to instantly share text messages, images, videos, and more. The app’s focus is not dating, but its fairly easy for teens to connect with one another. There is also a group search feature that makes it easy to find people who share similar interests.
Many people use this app rather than traditional text messaging because Kik users can create usernames that are more difficult to trace back. Kik is pretty well known as a place for sexting, with the hashtags #kikme or #kik delivering lots of results on platforms like Twitter.
Wondering how old that person is? You may never find out on this next app.
Hot or Not
While this app’s age policy claims that no one under 13 can make a profile, it also lacks an age verification system, making it all too easy for anyone to create a profile. And with adults being able to pose as young people, there’s no telling who your kid is dealing with. The app’s focus is allowing users to rate the attractiveness of other users based on their submitted photos. Needless to say, this kind of interaction can open the door for various adult communications.
This next app is nicknamed “Tinder for Teenagers” by some…
Yubo (Formerly “Yellow”)
The app (formerly known as Yellow) advertises across social media platforms (like TikTok) as a way for teens to make new friends, both online and in real-life when they potentially meet up outside of the app. Yubo allows users to chat and livestream, but the app’s age restriction raises worry for many — it’s for those aged between 13 and 25.
Law enforcement officials are warning about dangers associated with the app, among them child pornography, lewd and lascivious battery and obscene communication. Read our full coverage of Yubo here.
Or check out the last dating app on our list that popular with teens…
This app’s tagline is to “Meet, chat, and have fun with new people.” With the focus on creating new relationships with complete strangers online, there’s not much to question when it comes to the possible issues this can create as one of the most popular teen dating apps. Due to their affiliation with hookup app Skout, MeetMe offers a feature that allows users to meet face-to-face instantly along with text, video, and email chat.
Parentology’s Helpful Links
Visit Cyberwise for more information on kids and digital media. Visit Cyber Civics to see how the digital literacy program can be implemented in your child’s middle school. And check out the book Raising Humans in a Digital World, from Cyberwise’s co-founder, Diana Graber.
Click the link under the image to download the PDF.
Cyberwise is a resource site for adults looking to inform kids and teens about digital media and how to use it safely. They are the companion site to Cyber Civics, which produces a digital literacy program for middle schools around the world. Their hands-on research in and out of classrooms has helped them identify a list of the top teen dating apps. We’ve embedded their downloadable PDF at the bottom of this post.