What Parents Need to Know About Grindr

Is the popular LGBTQ dating app safe for your teen?

Grindr is a popular dating and social networking app for gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. It debuted on iOS and Android smart devices in 2009 as the first app for this demographic to incorporate geolocation functionality, so users can find others who are close by.

Since its launch, Grindr has been downloaded by more than 10 million users from all around the world. While it is often associated with casual hookups and dating, it has also proven to be a valuable tool for LGBTQ individuals in communities where it would otherwise be difficult or dangerous to find each other.

Grindr is popular with LGBTQ teens seeking to make a connection, either socially or romantically, with someone nearby. If you're a parent, you may have questions and concerns if your child has Grindr on their phone.

Grindr strives to make a positive impact. Its Grindr for Equality venture aims to help LGBTQ people around the globe, with initiatives and education in the areas of safety, sexual health, advocacy, and more.

Is Grindr Only for Adults?

Grindr clearly states that its services are available only for adults aged 18 and over. In both the Google Play store and Apple's App Store, the app is rated 17+.

While the app has many social functions and features, certain aspects of Grindr can be highly inappropriate for underage individuals.

Why Do People Use Grindr?

Grindr's mission is to create a safe space for users to discover and navigate the queer world. Users have many options when creating, viewing, and accessing profiles and can tailor their experiences. For example, a user who is looking for friendship can perform a search for other users who also want to make new friends.

People use the Grinder app to find serious relationships, casual dates, or sexual hookups, but there are also many who use Grindr when traveling to make friends in cities or countries where they don't know anyone.

Is Grindr Safe?

Grinder, like most social networks and apps, is only as safe as its users. While many use Grinder without incident, there have been reports of dangerous adults targeting teenage users as well as teens using the app to commit crimes and scams.

Teenage boy sitting on couch at home using cell phone
Westend61 / Getty Images

A worrisome aspect of Grindr is that it can be used to out LGBTQ people who may still be in the closet. This could result in bullying at school from classmates and teachers, or even physical assault.

Due to the graphic nature of some conversations and media shared on Grindr, underage users might develop unhealthy views of relationships or a poor body image. Like every messaging app, there is potential for bullying on Grindr.

Grindr Alternatives for LGBTQ Teenagers

The best alternatives to Grindr for gay, bisexual, trans, and queer teenagers are social networks they're probably already using, such as Facebook and Twitter. Both have LGBTQ userbases, making it easy to connect with others in a much more open and transparent venue than Grindr's private messaging system.

Facebook has a variety of public and private groups for gay and bisexual teenagers based on country, city, and interests. Twitter's search function makes it very easy to find likeminded people to follow.

Twitter and Facebook also give younger LGBTQ users the opportunity to connect with positive role models, such as LGBTQ politicians, editors, and writers. This can provide teens with a more wholesome experience that can prepare them for using Grindr and other similar apps when they're older and ready for dating as an adult.

This topic obviously requires more in-depth discussions with your child. The CDC has a list of LGBTQ resources that can help guide parents with the questions and challenges their children may face as they mature.