A new study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health has found that over 50% of sexually active gay and bisexual teens are using dating apps like Grindr and Scruff to meet partners.
It is reportedly the first study into the ways underage gay and bisexual teens meet online. It comprised a series of online surveys filled out by 200 sexually experiences teens.
Dr. Hector Torres, Chief Program Officer at an LGBT community centre in Lakeview, said of the findings: “The fact that they’re on at all is definitely concerning.
“There should be some type of mechanism to prevent this. As much as we parents can do, we can’t do everything, so I think these apps have to take some of the responsibility for making sure that their environment is safe – that there’s some sort of functioning guardrail to keep anybody under 18 from using it.”
In a statement, Grindr said: “Grindr does not condone illegal or improper behavior and we are troubled that an underage person may have been using our app in violation of our terms of service.
“Grindr services are only available for adults. Grindr encourages anyone aware of any illegal or improper activity on the app to submit a report either within the app or via email.”
The study found that the teens using the apps underage sometimes found friendships or relationships through these channels, and that they were more likely to take themselves for HIV testing.
It also found that teens use platforms like Instagram and Facebook to make gay and bisexual connections, suggesting that Grindr and Scruff should not shoulder all of the blame.
Read more here.