WHAT NO ONE TELLS PARENTS ABOUT THE DATING APP Hinge
Our teens have grown up connecting digitally. Relationships online feel normal to them. The dating app, Hinge, touts that it is “The Relationship App.” With messaging like that, my 16-year-old self would sign up. And parents, that’s why your teens need you to know and understand how dating apps work.
In-App Purchases: Yes
Contains Ads: No
Two years ago, Hinge moved away from the swipe feature popularized by Tinder and common in many dating apps. Hinge calls themselves the relationship app. And they’ve built a new dating app platform that differs from most other dating apps on the market.
First, Hinge uses your Facebook profile to connect you to people who are just one step away from you–friends of friends. So, you have a mutual connection. They do so while avoiding awkward connections when possible.
Hinge takes a different approach to how they display potential matches. Profiles scroll in Instagram style where you can heart, “like,”or comment on a profile to begin engaging with that person. So, no swiping left to like or right to reject “Tinder” style which is common in many dating apps. This swipe method makes it easy to focus and judge someone on their appearance, and the first profile image only.
Users customize their profile by adding up to six images and answering three questions. These questions serve as conversation starters. There are questions such as, “What music are you listening to right now?” Or other similar ice breaker type questions. Users also note filters for these categories:
Virtues – work, job title, school, education level, religious beliefs, and politics
Vitals – name, age, gender, height, hometown, location, ethnicity, kids, and family plans
Vices – drinking, smoking, marijuana, drugs
Hinge is free, but the free version only applies the filters for gender, location, age, distance, height, ethnicity, and religion. Most users move to the monthly subscription option which offers the additional filters for children, whether someone wants children, politics, drinking, smoking, marijuana, and drug use. The monthly subscription for Hinge is $12/month.
What Teens Say
The idea behind the dating app, Hinge, is attractive to teens. Many teens don’t want the “swipe and like” mentality of most dating apps. It feels shallow to them. They want a dating app that gives them the ability to get to know a person.
A dating app which connects you to mutual friends feels safer to teens. The thought teens have is, “Surely no one I know is friends with anyone dangerous.” While I personally think this approach is better, the thought that anyone might drop their guard when meeting a stranger for the first time is a bit scary.
My hope is those using the dating app Hinge, and others with a similar format, still follow safe online dating protocol.
What Parents Need to Know
The terms of service state users:
- Have attained the legal age that is statutorily required under the laws of the country in which they reside in order to form a binding contract with Hinge
Since Hinge verifies accounts through Facebook, underage teens would have to create a Facebook account that misrepresented their age. It would put underage users in violation of these terms.
Hinge reports the majority of their users are 25-35. Hinge clearly is not marketing their dating app to teens. And, based on the average age of users, teens should not be using the dating app Hinge.
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