An International Issue: When Older Men Seek Younger Girls on Dating Apps

by Gabriella Mayer

Like many young adults living in a big city, one of the few ways in which a young woman can find a date is through a dating app. For young women, it is an easy and convenient way to set up a profile and sit back to look at the traits the other person has without wasting time on a date. Despite this, some men using dating sites or apps decide to take advantage of this opportunity and prey on those who may not know better. 
This was the case when social media dating apps like Blushr, Hot or Not, and MyLOL were found to have users that were between the ages of 13 to 19 years old. While investigating Hot or Not, a researcher on the TV show “Good Morning Britain” posed as a 13-year-old girl and subsequently received explicit messages expressing their preference for minors, according to the Daily Mail. MyLOL, according to the Belfast Telegraph, was reported to have “breached rules governing nudity with posts… alongside graphic pictures of children [and] troubling forums”. 
There are also cases where people on dating apps like Tinder are able to lie about their ages through Facebook and as a result, a 15-year-old could be swiped right by someone aged 50. 
So why do these adults use these dating apps? Many of these apps  mostly give a broad description of how far away each user is and whether minors are chatting with these predators are only broadly monitored. When younger people are in contact with these predators, it leaves them open to potential harm and hidden scars to these younger users. 
One incident like this happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I had been using my Coffee Meets Bagels account, and as I get the daily notification to look at potential people to “like”, I noticed a man who seems to be a little older than what I have set for my preferences. Usually, I have my age preferences set from ages 18 to 24. When I looked closely at his profile, I saw that it was a man aged 50 who had “liked” my profile. It has often been the case on this dating app where I would occasionally been “liked” by someone maybe a few years above my preferences, but it had never gone to someone 30 years my senior liking my profile. Due to that and my instinct, I did not like his profile back. 
When using social media apps like this, it is a given that users should not sigh a breath of relief. There will always be users that fabricate their specific details in order not to be known immediately. Besides this, parents usually only tell younger children to let their plans meeting a stranger be known to people they trust. However, these apparent statements should not be any excuse for older men to be able to pursue younger girls and take advantage of them. It is also the responsibility of the dating apps and dating websites to monitor the activities of minor with adult chats and take note of older users who are exhibiting warning signs toward those they are chatting with. 
It is said that these younger users should take more care, but it is up to everyone to be willing to stand up for those receiving harm because of their desires to love someone.



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