Tag Archives: Dating

Dating Apps with Teens are Dangerous for Adults

Deceptive Teens Phone(This is the second of a three-part series on the dangers of dating apps and teenagers. See the first in the series here.)

It is obvious to tell teens on dating apps their vulnerability to sexual predators. What is not so obvious is the danger to adults when teens use these apps.

In June, a Houston man used the dating app Plenty O’ Fish to meet an 18 year-old woman. After talking online for three days, the woman invited him to her apartment. When he arrived, the woman claimed to need to take a phone call. When she left, two male teens approached with a gun. When the man had no money and refused to take them to his car, the teens shot him. The man survived by playing dead and calling 911 when his attackers fled. The girl was only 14 and had done the same scheme with another victim.

In Indiana last month, a nineteen year old man used the app, Hot or Not, to meet a 17 year-old girl (“of age” in Indiana). The two meet and have sex. It turns out the girl was only 14. The girl testified at his trial and admitted lying about her age. She said, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you my age. It kills me every day, knowing you are going through hell and I’m not. I want to be in trouble and not you.”

However, even if the sex was consensual and even if the girl did lie about her age, it is not a defense under most statutory rape laws. After a short jail sentence he is listed as a sex offender for 25 years. As such, he cannot live with his parents because his brother is 15. He is forbidden from using computers or smart phones to communicate with minors the rest of his life.

These stories aren’t just important for adults to reconsider their use of dating apps. Teens need to know them as well. The Indiana story shows what a young teen can do to someone they care about when they lie about their age in these apps.

For a list of these apps see my previous article on dating apps.

ABC 13 Eyewitness News. (2015, July 6). Police: Man played dead after being shot in southwest Houston. Retrieved from News: http://abc13.com/news/police-man-played-dead-after-being-shot-in-sw–houston/831467/
Kasparian, A. (2015, August 5). How a dating app hookup landed a teen on the sex offender registry. Retrieved from Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/2015/08/teen-listed-as-a-sex-offender-for-dating-app-hookup/
Phillips, K., & Fitzpatrick, D. (2015, August 4). How a dating app hookup landed a teen on the sex offender registry. Retrieved from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/03/us/dating-app-sex-offender-registry/
Shay, M. (2015, July 10). Charges dropped against teen accused of luring shooting victims. Retrieved from ABC 13 Eyewitness News: http://abc13.com/news/charges-dropped-against-teen-accused-of-luring-victims/840675/

12 Dangerous Dating Apps for Teens

Woman phone-Masked man(This is the first of a three-part series on the dangers of dating apps.)

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
  • Meetme
  • MyLOL
  • Omegle

Dating apps for adults are also dangerous for teens and are not difficult for teens to bypass their age requirements:

  • Badoo
  • Bumble
  • Coffee Meets Bagel
  • Happn
  • Hinge
  • OkCupid
  • Plenty O’ Fish
  • Skout
  • Tinder

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

Cyber Rape

Speak UpAt age 23, Holly had a new boyfriend.

When Holly moved away for grad school, they dated long-distance. “To keep the intimacy alive” she sent him naked photos and a personal sexual video.

However after three years, it ran its course and they had a “normal breakup.”

Several months later, Holly’s naked photos were all over the internet with her full name, email address, job title, where she worked, and other details.

“My stomach just dropped and I felt ill.” Holly worked to remove the photos but they kept coming up on more and more sites.

Then it got worse. She received an email with her photos. “Get in touch concerning your pictures. There’s also a nice video. Have [they] seen them? It’s 8:15 where you are. You have until 8:37 to reply. Then I start the distribution.” The email listed the email addresses of Holly’s co-workers and boss.

Holly did not respond. The photos were emailed to her boss and co-workers and went viral within three days. Her boss called her in to explain. Holly eventually quit her job.

Now three years after the break up, “I felt like the only thing I could do was part from that identity that had been completely defamed.” She legally changed her name to Holly from her birth name.

Six months later she was going to present her doctoral thesis at a conference. Her naked photos appeared on the web with her new name and with the date, time and location of the conference. “They said something like why don’t you go check her out and see if she’ll have sex with you for money.”

Fearing for her safety, Holly backed out of the conference and went to the police. Since she was over 18 and voluntarily gave the pictures and video, there wasn’t anything they could do.

Holly didn’t give up. She went to her state attorney’s office who took her case. Holly, now age 29, became the first person to sue an ex for their distribution of revenge pornography. “It is really cyber rape. It’s just another way of exploiting women.”

(Jacobs, H. (2013, September 8). A Message From Our Founder, Dr. Holly Jacobs. Retrieved from End Revenge Porn: http://www.endrevengeporn.org/?p=422)
(Miller, M. E. (2013, May 9). Miami Student Holly Jacobs Fights Revenge Porn. Retrieved from Miami New Times News: http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2013-05-09/news/revenge-porn-miami-holly-jacobs/full/)