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A newer, safer teen Skout

Marc Sanchez Jul 13, 2012

When Skout open its app doors for business a couple years ago, it thought it was filling a niche market: helping people hook up. The app helps flirters send messages and pictures to each other and, using GPS in a smartphone, lets people know if other singles are near you. Great. Except that what Skout found out out was that 15% of their users turned out to be minors, between the ages of 13-18.

Earlier this year, Skout decided to open up a teen-only version of its app. Teens flocked to it, so, naturally, did pedophiles. Skout pulled the app and shut down its service about a month ago after three men were accused of raping children they found through the app. Skout was very sorry and apologetic, and the teens who used the app? Well, a lot of them did what teens do: they complained. A long list of “How could you?!?” posts and “That’s the only way my boyfriend and I communicate” notes piled up on Skout’s blog. If you read through the list, you can almost hear the SLAM! of bedroom doors and exasperated sighs.

It looks like the sighs have grown loud enough now to win out, because the teen version is going back online today.

From the L.A. Times:

Teens will no longer be able to see or search by location and they will not be able to find anyone on Skout who is within 100 miles of them. They will also have to connect to Skout through Facebook. The company will verify Facebook credentials, and anyone caught lying about his or her age will be permanently banned from the service along with his or her mobile device

I think we all know that teens are going to complain. That’s kind of their thing, right? I mean whether they’re chewing bubble gum, sending thousands of texts a day, or trying to make the varsity team/cheerleading squad/glee club, their lives are fragile castles built with bricks of hyperbolic drama. A few choice words from a classmate could either turn it into rubble or build a new turret. But let’s get one thing straight, as the father of a girl as a parent, as a human being, I don’t think we should be giving into the whims of teenagers because they complain a little. Go to school. Meet a nice boy/girl your own age. There’s plenty of time for dating, and you don’t need an app to do it.

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