Swiping right


Teenagers are using Tinder

Claire Hunt, Managing Editor

Tinder has found its way onto Burlingame’s campus and into the phones of its students. The app itself is easy to use; users add pictures of themselves to their profile, along with a bio, age and name, and then start swiping. If an individual finds someone they are interested in, they swipe right. If two people swipe right on each other, Tinder makes a match and alerts each of them. From there, a person can initiate a conversation or even propose meeting in real life. Or they can just keep swiping.

In June 2016, Tinder banned members under 18 years old from joining the app. Prior to this restriction, 7 percent of all Tinder users were between 13 and 17 years old. The new age restraint only allows legal adults to participate in the app. But that’s not stopping teenagers from using Tinder.

“A lot of people I’ve met on Tinder, they originally say they’re 18 just so that they don’t get reported or blocked, but once you get to know them they’re like, yeah, I’m actually 17,” senior Ryan Lowe said.

Compared to other online dating apps, Tinder has achieved notoriety for arranging hookups rather than relationships. Typically, people looking for a long-term or committed relationship are advised to stay off this app, which has led to a particular culture and mark surrounding the platform.

“Most people see it as a hookup app, and that’s generally the reputation Tinder has. Like, if you’re on Tinder, you’re just looking for a hookup, one-night stands, stuff like that,” Lowe said.

For many, Tinder offers a way to meet new people and interact with strangers in a relatively safe environment. Its reputation as a strictly casual way to meet or initiate sexual encounters can be misleading, especially for high school students.

“I think a lot of people just talk to people on Tinder but then never end up actually meeting them,” senior Sami Shibli said. “But,” he added, “I do know people who have actually met up and done the dirty stuff.”

For the majority of student users, however, Tinder is used primarily to meet and talk to new people.

[My friends] initially downloaded it as a joke, but then they realized that they could actually meet new people and kept using it as a platform for that purpose,” senior Sofia Zaragoza said.

The majority of Burlingame students do not use Tinder. More common with upperclassmen, the app is not as prevalent among the general student population as other social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter. Although online dating has become a prominent way to form relationships in the last few decades, it is less popular among teenagers than other age groups.

I think online dating has become more popular but not necessarily for people in high school,” Zaragoza said. “I think social media and meeting people through common friends is a more typical way for high school students to meet new people.”