bigstock-Attractive-teenage-girl-with-p-26107655If you were told that there are App’s that are being marketed for 12+ year olds that facilitate face to face meetings with strangers. What if you were told that this app reveals the user’s location using their phones GPS. What if you were told that the app is designed to have your teen post pictures anonymously for people to find those that “like” what they see? What if you knew the programmers intentionally rated the app for tweens and teens knowing that there would be “Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content or Nudity; Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor; Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes”?

The app, “Tinder” is all of the above and more. The posting teen will find out if they are liked or rejected based on the subscribers putting a heart or an x. As if parents aren’t struggling enough with self-esteem of their teens, this puts a new extreme on the pressures to look a certain way, which can impact

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eating disorders, depression, and suicide rates.

The teens that I work with know this as the “hook up” app. Mostly it is between kids within rival High schools, but it is also getting into the middle schools as well given the rating stays under the radar of many of the parent protections that are put on.

Even more frightening is that many of these online predators use these sites to gain access to young kids that they know are developmentally and socially naïve to understand what is happening as they lure them into a relationship, guilt them by participation and ultimately try and convince them to meet up. When you consider 80% of kids that are approached online never tell an adult because they are convinced by these professional predators not to, it is a recipe for disaster.

Love your children and say no to full access to technology. Take time to learn about the programs and the apps that are on your children’s phones.