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But these apps are not a safe way for them to explore dating.

For starters, although many of the apps aren't intended for them, it's easy for savvy teens to get around registration-related age restrictions. Location-sharing increases the potential for a real-life meeting; less dangerous but still troubling is the heavy emphasis on looks as a basis for judgment.

It's possible that teens are only testing boundaries with these apps.

Many are eager to be on the same wavelength as their 20-something counterparts, and the prospect of meeting someone outside their social circle is exciting.

And with so much of their social life happening online, teens feel comfortable using apps to meet people.

Unless you're single, you might not be familiar with dating apps such as Tinder, where users can quickly swipe through prospective dates.

But it's likely your teen knows all about these apps -- even though they're mostly designed for adults.

According to the company's own estimates, about seven percent of Tinder's users are age 13 to 17.

Although adults use these apps both for casual hookups and for scouting out more long-term relationships, they're risky for teens.

They'll get notifications when other users near their geographic area join, and they can search other areas by cashing in points.

They receive notifications when someone "checks" them out but must pay points to see who it is.

is probably the safest choice, if only because it has a teens-only section that seems to be moderated reasonably well.

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