Saturday 22 October 2016

Tinder users as young as 13 banned as dating app raises age limit to 18

Cara McGoogan

Published 09/06/2016 | 10:37

Sean Rad at the recent Web Summit at the RDS. Photo: Steve Humphreys.
Sean Rad at the recent Web Summit at the RDS. Photo: Steve Humphreys.

Tinder is banning under 18s after concerns about children below the age of consent using the dating app.

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From next week, users under the age of 18 will be blocked from using the app, which is currently available to anyone aged 13 and over with a Facebook account.

A spokesman said the company has a "responsibility" for its users and, after assessing its policy since the beginning of the year, "we have decided to discontinue service for under 18 users".

Read more: Tinder launches controversial group date function - labelled as 'enabling group sex'

Less than 3pc of the app's total user base of over 50 million people worldwide, according to estimates, will be affected by the change, the company said.

Last year Tinder came under fire for letting children under the age of consent use its dating service. Although Tinder restricts users under the age of 17-years-old from speaking with adults over 18, it has been criticised for failing to enforce its own age restrictions.

The app requires users to sign up using their Facebook account, but some users still manage to fake their age - Facebook allows users to change their age a limited number of times and doesn't verify people's identities when they first sign up.

This means that children can end up talking to adults on Tinder. The NSPCC and National Crime Agency have both urged dating apps to introduce checks to verify users' ages, and protect children from being groomed online.

Tinder said that children were able to use the app to make friends and connect with new people, before it decided to block them altogether. The company has not outlined how it will verify the ages of users going forward.

The policy change follows an announcement last week that the dating app is going to improve its accessibility for transgender people.

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