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As a precaution, minors on Tinder can see only other minors. D., a clinical psychologist who specializes in adolescents, says, “If that’s how they’re making conversation, cut it off.”Adults who want to prey on children can lie about their age too.“We want people to be safe,” says Rosette Pambakian, Tinder’s vice president of global communica- tions and branding. In 2012 the meeting app Skout temporarily suspended its under-18 section, which had safeguards similar to Tinder’s, after adult men were accused of raping and sexually assaulting minors in three separate incidents.Rachel*, 16, of New York City, lasted just an hour on Tinder.“I got messages saying, ‘I’m only a mile away—wanna meet up? She says she’s probably never going to use it again.But there are a few days that most people don’t know about – the days that make up last week’s International Flirting Week.While it’s a pretty recent phenomenon in the US, it’s slowly gaining popularity and talks about it are often coupled with flirting tips and dating advice.However, Mary Jo Rapini, a psychotherapist who specializes in relationships, doesn’t see any positives.“Many people using the app aren’t teens,” she notes.
“Safety concerns me a bit, but it gives teens an opportunity to get some- thing started outside of their own school,” she points out.Reading through various blogs and posts made me realize – aside from the obvious mistakes I was making, of course – just how many more opportunities there are for flirting today.When I was growing up, we did a little flirting and playful messaging through AOL Instant Messenger (gasp!She confesses her friends thought dating apps were “weird at first, but now they check Bumble like Snapchat and Instagram.” (The company says 10 percent of its users are under 18.)Among the 30-plus minors interviewed for this story, those who have tried dating apps say the main attraction is meeting someone they haven’t already known for years.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.
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The company won’t reveal its exact number of users, but it did disclose that 2.5 percent are people ages 13 to 17.