A fourteen year-old girl feeling (like most young teens) lonely and unsure of herself, turns to her smart phone.
She installs the app MyLOL claiming to be the “#1 teen dating site in the US, Australia, UK and Canada.” She meets a young teen boy who finally gives her the attention she can’t get at school.
Two months later they arrange to meet for the first time at her home when her parents are away. The young teen boy proves to be a 28 year-old taxi driver. After sexually abusing her, he returns three days later to her school. The girl tells her teacher who calls police who arrest the man.
The police find that he had been in contact with other young girls through MyLOL. He pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual activity with a child and is now in prison.
MyLOL markets itself to 13 to 20 year olds and claims to monitor posts for illegal activity and nudity. However, the age of users is not verified.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) calls MyLOL a “playground for pedophiles.” The NSPCC is
“calling on all teen dating apps and websites to take immediate steps to protect their young users. … For many young people socializing … through mobile phone apps is part of everyday life. So it’s vital that when they sign up to an app they aren’t exposed to adult sexual content or have encounters with adults that puts them at risk of being sexually abused.”
Parents this is just one app of many to keep away from your teen’s phone. Here is a list of teen dating apps that pose this danger:
- Hot or Not
Dating apps for adults are also dangerous for teens and are not difficult for teens to bypass their age requirements:
- Coffee Meets Bagel
- Plenty O’ Fish
Conway, P. (2015, February 9). 6 Adult Dating Apps Teens Are Using Too. Retrieved from Common Sense Media: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/6-adult-dating-apps-teens-are-using-too
DailyMail.com. (2014, January 24). Teenagers joining ‘playground for pedophiles’ MyLOL website to avoid being checked up by Mum on Facebook. Retrieved from Daily Mail News: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2545658/Teenagers-joining-risky-websites-avoid-check-Mum-Facebook.html
MyLOL. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.mylol.com
Philby, C. (2014, August 11). Teenage dating apps are hunting ground for adult abusers. Retrieved from The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/teenage-dating-apps-are-hunting-ground-for-adult-abusers-9662817.html
Woda, T. (2015, May 1). Teen Dating Apps That Are Bad News. Retrieved from uknowkids: http://resources.uknowkids.com/blog/teen-dating-apps-that-are-bad-news