UK Warns Adults About Underage Teens on Hookup Apps
The United Kingdom's National Crime Agency issued a warning to adults to be careful they are not hooking up with teenagers when using dating applications, like Grindr, Gay Star News reports.
U.K.'S NCA warning wasn't strictly directed towards gay men, but it noted that some teens use dating apps to seek same-sex relations. The warning also stresses that adults who use the apps should make sure their sex partners are over 18 years old. The warning comes after an increase of teens reporting abuse on hookup apps.
According to British law, if an adult using the app receives a picture of someone who is under 18, they are in possession of indecent images of children. If an adult has sex with someone under 16, then they are breaking the law.
"No matter what age you are, if you're in any doubt of your partner's age - just don't do it," a spokesman told GSN. "The key thing is, we recognize people will use these sites to explore their sexuality. But if you're feeling uncomfortable and questioning the age of someone else, don't get involved."
The spokesman added that teens who are using the apps "might not always realize how they're being exploited," saying, "but the responsibility always rests with the adult. If doesn't matter if the adult is 19 or 90, the responsibility lies with them."
The warning comes after a spike in teens telling the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Children helpline that they had negative experiences when using hookup apps.
The NSPCC does not have specific data on the increase, but the organization's Claire Lilley told the BBC the apps "do have terms and conditions in place, but they're simply not being enforced and as a result children are being put at risk of serious harm."
An official from Grindr responded to the warning in a statement.
"We do our best to ensure all users follow our strict terms-of-service policy that require users to be at a minimum age of 18," the official said.