And, like most of the other dating apps here, it's easy to enter a fake birth date anyway.Spotafriend: Spotafriend's app store description says it's "not a teen dating app," but it does use the swiping functionality and location tagging that many dating apps use.What parents need to know: You can log in to both Hot or Not and Badoo using email or Facebook.If you sign up via email, you have to enter a birth date that indicates you're over 18, though there's no verification.A few profiles had references to marijuana use, and many teens shared their handles for other social media platforms, making more personal information available to strangers.Skout: The Skout app and site offer several ways to connect with other users, including "saying hi" via someone's profile, watching livestreams (or going live), chatting with people who have "liked" you back, or using the "Buzz" feature to access a feed of local users (that appears to be a Facebook feed) who are mostly posting selfies. What parents need to know: In its Safety Tips section, Skout claims to separate teens from adults so they can't interact, but that no longer seems to be the case.At this point, most parents would say "no way" and stop reading right now.
These solutions aren't foolproof, but they add a layer of difficulty that some teens may deem too high.
Teens can set the age preference of potential matches anywhere from 18 to 80, and most matches during testing were about 50 miles away.
Kik: Part text-messaging app, part social network, Kik gives users the opportunity to talk to both friends and strangers.
Teens can use settings to let only friends see their profiles, but they can filter who can chat with them only by gender and age. What parents need to know: There are plenty of scantily clad teens here, too, and one profile for a "17-year-old" indicated she's actually 32.
Also, there are profiles with no pictures, so it's impossible to tell the user's age at all.Talk to them about how they approach dating and relationships and how to create a healthy, fulfilling one -- and note that these usually require more than a swipe.