More than a quarter of children using specialist teen dating apps, some as young as 13, have been contacted by adults online, it can be revealed.
One website marketing itself at 13- to 20-year-olds – – has breached rules governing nudity with posts including: “Do any girls want to post nudes message [sic]” and “Horny girls message me”, an investigation by The Independent has found.
It's no secret that the dating landscape has changed a lot in the last few years—awkward setups have been traded for e-matchmaking, with research showing that one in 10 people have used a dating site or phone app to connect with potential mates.
Though many of these services—like Ok Cupid, Grindr, and Match.com—are only available to users 18 and over, teens like Becca have gotten involved through Tinder, which has no age restriction.
But Claire Lilley, head of online safety at the NSPCC, said the children’s charity is “deeply disturbed that sexual predators could use teen dating apps and websites to target young people.
Allowing adults and children to mix on services that are blatantly about flirting and relationships has the potential to put children at risk of abuse.”Last year a 28-year-old man was jailed for nine years after he groomed two girls aged 14 and 15 on mylol.com, which was described by the NSPCC as a “playground for paedophiles”.
In 2004, Cyntoia Brown was arrested for the murder of a 43-year-old man. Film-maker Daniel Birman was granted unique access to Cyntoia from the week of her arrest, throughout her trial and over a period of six years.
His documentary explores the tragic events in her life that led up to the murder, and Cyntoia’s biological mother meets he daughter for the first time since giving her up for adoption 14 years earlier.
Her date for the evening, however, was someone she'd only known in person for a few weeks.What is perhaps more worrying, however, is the fact that the promotion of such sites to a younger audience doesn't seem to just stop there.An article published last year in American magazine, Seventeen, whose target audience is females aged 12-19, appeared to put the idea out there that online dating sites may be the way forward, with the writer of the article (a college aged blogger) enthusiastically regaling the story of how her friend had become engaged six months after meeting her partner on line.”, which had been live for nearly two months without moderation.The website recently lowered its upper age limit from 25 years old to 20, but without deleting users aged 21 and above – despite adults as old as 60 being found to have signed up to the service, which is popular among British teenagers and has 300,000 users worldwide.Much like Tinder, Spotafriend allows teens to view pictures of others near them, and swipe left or right if the person is someone they would like to know better.