By entering a fake birthdate or photo, anyone can end up on a site where they don’t belong.This puts teens at risk, cautions Ellen Harrell, director of outreach and prevention for the National Center for the Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).One couple she knows chatted constantly on Facebook for more than two months—even though they saw each other every day at school—before the boy got up the nerve to ask out the girl.
The site contains some sexually explicit photos and no effective age verification, according to the review.
At least that’s what teens said in a recent story about online romance in the student newspaper at my daughters’ suburban Maryland high school.
According to that story, “students initiate relationships online to meet new people, avoid stressful in-person meetings and hide their dating lives from their parents.” That’s certainly the case for some kids, according to my 17-year-old.
So it pays to be aware of the app world, even as it changes more quickly than we parents seem to be able to keep up with.
One example is Yellow, a newer app that turns Snapchat into a kind of Tinder, allowing users to swipe right on selfies of teens the user wants to be “friends” with, and then provides info to allow the two to connect on Snapchat.