Messaging apps make it easy to text, video-chat and share pics with strangers.
Dating Apps are often fee-based or, like Tinder, free (freemium) but then bombard you with ads and in-app purchases to promote your profile.
Many of these apps only require a phone number to sign up and do not provide adequate safety to identify and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. Many perpetrators delete their profile after an incident only to pop up later as someone else.
Most of the "make-new-friends" apps aren't intended for teens, but it's easy to get around age restrictions, because registration generally involves just entering a birth date. This means adults can pose as teens -- and vice versa.
Most are location-based -- meaning they connect with people who are near you -- which increases the potential for a real-life meeting with a stranger.
Because teens often share multiple social media handles on these apps, they can give strangers access to more personal information and intimate conversations.
Some of them have mature content like drugs and nudity.
The barrier to entry is very low: They're mostly free and allow essentially anyone to join.
Less dangerous but still troubling is the heavy emphasis on looks as a basis for judgment.
Pictures often reveal a teen’s exact location. Tinder allows users to look for people within a certain mile radius, so users already have a good idea about where someone is located. Savvy strangers can often locate a teen’s exact location based on the profile photo.
Scammers use Tinder. Fake profile photos are often used to lure unsuspecting people into chatting. Then, scammers collect personal information or offer shady links to click on which can be used to swindle teens into giving out their information.
In-person meetings. Tinder isn’t meant for creating platonic friendships. It’s used by people who want to meet in-person. Many teens underestimate the risks of meeting strangers and they may be willing to meet in private locations.
Tinder promotes sex. Tinder has been named one of the best apps for hookups. People using Tinder are often looking for one night stands. It’s not a place for young teens to casually make friends.
Sometimes it can be hard to know what to do to support someone. You may feel stressed or scared you'll say the wrong thing.
Remember your main role in YourCrew is to listen, acknowledge and communicate support. That can mean calling a professional service such as Kids Helpline or, in an emergency, calling 000They can also guide you on what to do.
If you are under 18 years, you can also reach out to an adult or your Crew to help you support someone.