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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/30/2014 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Tinder app encouraging Australian under the age of consent to engage in illicit encounters

Teenagers down under in Australia are using a popular smartphone app, called Tinder to arrange for sexual encounters with strangers. Although the application has an age restriction of 13 years and older, Tinder lets users to "like" or "pass" on fellow users' profiles based on their picture. The app also opens the possibility to chat via the app.

The Smartphone app Tinder, popular in Australia, leaves many teenagers vulnerable to sexual predators who lie about their age in their profiles.

The Smartphone app Tinder, popular in Australia, leaves many teenagers vulnerable to sexual predators who lie about their age in their profiles.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/30/2014 (8 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Tinder, Australia, app, Smartphone, illicit sex


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Tinder app according to one source, was being used by "teens to find other teens who are interested in getting physical with no emotional connection," a Melbourne teenager, who attends a private school speaking on the condition of anonymity said.

"Every person I know who has used Tinder has been asked for sex," the 16-year-old said. She also said she knew teenagers as young as 15 who were using the app.

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"All the girls I know have spoken to mainly older guys, around one or two years older. And the guys speak to anyone they can.

"It starts off with general chit-chat usually, and then it slips into talking purely about sex and physical stuff and then often they eventually arrange to meet up."

Another local teenager said she joined Tinder when she was 17 and was "always" asked for sex via the app. "A lot of teenagers use Tinder as a way to get sex," the now 18-year-old said.

"There's a lot of people locally on Tinder, like from the next suburb away, or the western suburbs."

Naturally, it is "neither safe nor desirable" for teenagers to use apps to facilitate sex with strangers. According to La Trobe university professor Anne Mitchell, author of the "National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health" report, says

"I think it is quite inappropriate for 13-year-olds to have access to such an app but these things are very hard to police," Mitchell said.

A Tinder spokeswoman said seven percent of Tinder users globally were 13 to 17 years old but could not provide exact figures for Australia. To "protect young users" aged 13 to 17, they can only connect with other users in that same age range, the spokeswoman said.

The fly in the ointment with this safety procedure is that there appears to be nothing stopping users from changing their date of birth on their Facebook account, which Tinder requires to create a profile, before registering.

A 40-year-old Facebook user could change their date of birth to the year 2000, register for Tinder and misrepresent themselves as a 13-year-old.

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