Is it time to start checking ID at the door for your online hookups? The U.K.’s National Crime Agency seems to think so.
In a conversation with the ‘mos over at Gay Star News, a spokesman with the NCA urged gay men to ensure that their partners are over age 18 due to a sharp increase in the number of underage teens contacting U.K. helplines reporting bad experiences with partners met on mobile dating apps.
The key thing is, we recognize people will use these sites to explore their sexuality. But if you’re feeling uncomfortable and questioning the age of someone else, don’t get involved. The responsibility always rests with the adult. If doesn’t matter if the adult is 19 or 90, the responsibility lies with them.
Hookup apps generally have a policy that requires users to be 18 or over, but such policies are easily subverted by curious younger teens. The situation could spell disaster for both an over-18 user that is fooled by a younger teenager or the teens themselves who may find themselves groomed and exploited by older men.
NCA education head Jonathan Baggaley further warns:
Contact from predatory offenders is not always obvious and children may not recognize that they are being sexually exploited. Adults should always be cautious and having sex with someone you believe is under the age of consent is illegal full stop. The child can never be blamed.
For their part, Grindr released a statement to Gay Star News stating that they have a team of moderators that ensure that their users adhere to the strict 18+ policy.
We guess this article came a bit too late for Mike Dozier, but let that story and this one be a reminder not to be risky with the law when it comes to your online shenanigans.
A hookup is just one night, but a sex offender conviction is forever.