The teenaged version of Tinder is, for the most part, a place where young people trade the type of photos and texts one would expect – confirmation photos, innocent flirtations, jokes and music.
Unfortunately, tucked in among the hundreds of everyday messages, there are those that ask 13 and 14-year-old girls to provide nude pictures of themselves and encourage them to meet for sex.
“I think it’s fun for the most part,” 14-year-old Sara Østergaard told MetroXpress. “But I have also experienced getting nasty messages from guys I thought would take advantage of me.”
According to Østergaard, the messages said things like: “Hi beautiful, please send some naughty pictures.”
Østergaard said declining the advances can cause some boys on Tinder to become aggressive.
“It can be uncomfortable when the boys do not accept a ‘no’, she said. “One boy wrote many nasty things to me, because I said no, calling me a cow and even more unpleasant names.”
Another 14-year-old girl reported she received a message saying: “Let’s meet at a motel and I’ll split you as if you have given birth to triplets.”
Østergaard said that she and her friends are careful about who they give their details to, but that has not prevented her from receiving pictures she did not request.
“I’ve been sent pictures of guys genitals,” she said. “I think it is disgusting.”
In December 2015, a 32-year-old man pretending to be younger on Tinder drove a 12-year-old girl into the forest and forced her to have sex with him.
Jon Lange, a senior advisor at Redbarnet, said that although stories like that are a concern, the more dangerous issue is the interaction between those closer in age.
“There is a huge difference between what a girl might want from a boyfriend at age 13, when it may be enough just to hold hands, compared to when she is 17, when it might be a more serious relationship that includes sex,” said Lange.