Underage Teens Can’t Be On Tinder Any More, Which Is Great For Everyone
I’m so glad the only matchmaking service I knew about in high school was spin the bottle. If Tinder was a thing, there’s no way in hell I’d ever be able to formulate a healthy intimate relationship with another person ever again. Thankfully, the app is taking note: next week, Tinder’s prohibiting anyone under the age of 18 from using the service, instead of the previous minimum of 13 (I had barely found my hands at that age, let alone knew how to use them to swipe?!?).
Before the new age limit, 2.5 percent of Tinder users were age 13-17, the company told Teen Vogue last year. Luckily, teens could only match up with other teens in order to prevent any illegal match ups, but Tinder decided to raise the age limit any way.
Given the cesspool Tinder tends to be, this is such a welcome and necessary idea, I assumed the app was for adults all along. While the common age of consent in the U.S. is 16, neuroscientists posit that brains develop well into the early 20s, and even until age 25. That doesn’t bode well given the service promotes non-committal interactions through the swift swiping of people (PEOPLE) like a pair of pants in a sale section.
I don’t think swiping right or left fosters intimacy, which I’m glad I learned how to be OK with from a young age (sup hand holding!). It can also be extremely hard on your self esteem, and teens on Tinder are likely to base their self-worth on a swipe their would-be suitor likely didn’t put much thought into. My future kid is not allowed anywhere near Tinder. Am I a good parent yet?
Take benching, for example — the hot new fuckboy move to hit Tinder (actually it’s probably happened to you before, there just wasn’t a name for it). Jason Chen for New York Magazine pointed out that it’s a bigger offense than its predecessor “ghosting,” wherein you’d have a grand ‘ol time with a potential mate, only to inexplicably never hear from them again. Fine. You’ll ruminate for a solid week, but then move on with your life.
Its upgraded cousin, however, is pure torture. It means they’ll go radio silent, and once you’ve gotten over your feelings for them, they’ll conveniently resurface with some shitty text like “U up?” until something better comes along. It’s like baseball, except you’re getting hit in the face with a ball while you sit on a bench. You basically get lured into a toxic cycle founded on manipulation. Again, if I were to have been submitted to anything more than a “Hey BRACE FACE!!!” during high school, I would have 10 times the trust issues I already do. Fun! So thumbs up to keeping teens out of this mess.
Age requirements aren’t a new thing, however. According to Adweek, you have to be 13 to use Facebook, and 16 to use WhatsApp (the latter I don’t get, but I’m sure they have their reasons). Wanna show off your seventh grade honor roll certificate? Sorry, bud. Gotta be 14 to use LinkedIn. You also have to be 18 to register for accounts with YouTube, WeChat, and Kik, although if you’re between the age of 13 and 17 and NEED NEED NEED to make contouring tutorials, just ask mom and pops. I’m sure they think it is a fantastic use of your time.
Now, kids. This is my obligatory “Whatever happened to playing outside??”