Spotafriend is an app marketing itself as ‘only for teenagers’. Its function is to connect teens with others around them. The app works by swiping right on the pictures of those you would like to become friends with. If both users accept, it’s a match and they can begin chatting privately. The app’s promotional material insists it is not a dating app, but it is remarkably similar to the adult site Tinder.
The problem with this app is that it actively encourages kids to connect with, and form friendships with, complete strangers. It is a logical progression that kids would then meet those people as the geolocation functionality shows if they are in close proximity. There is no guarantee that the profiles of others are genuine. It is a perfect platform for paedophiles to groom children. This is one app I would actively discourage kids from using.
If kids do use this app, The Office of the eSafety Commissioner gives these tips to kids:
- Be careful about sharing personal information, such as your full name, phone number, email and address.
- Leave personal contact information out of your Spotafriend profile. Protect your identity until you are comfortable enough with someone to share it.
- Don’t meet up with someone you’ve met on Spotafriend alone, without telling a trusted adult, and make sure it’s always in a public space.