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“Many people using the app aren’t teens,” she notes.“They may claim to be one, but that doesn’t make it true.”If you decide to use a dating app, Nissly advises doing some sleuthing.Alyssa, for instance, downloaded Tinder after breaking up with a classmate; she didn’t want to go out with someone else she passed in the halls every day.And the experts we talked to agree that 13 or 14 is too young for such platforms, but opinions differ on whether they’re appropriate for older teens. Greenberg says she hasn’t heard complaints from clients that Tinder’s just a hookup site.
“If you’re not lying about your age, we’re not showing you 40-year-olds.” Still, teens can easily circum- vent this hurdle by lying about their age on Facebook, which is how Tinder authenticates new users (the minimum age to join Facebook is 13). According to Augusta Nissly, the program coordinator for Family Online Safety Institute, lying is one of the most dangerous things you can do when using dating apps. They allegedly pretended to be under 18 in order to lure their victims.Considering all of this, perhaps it’s no surprise our study found that as many as 32% of Internet users are dating online.So, if one-in-three people out there are doing it, who is the typical online dater?Are online daters giving away too much about themselves?Are they, through online dating, exposing themselves and their devices to malicious people – or indeed malware – all too easily?