Sheffield MP warns of dating app in schools

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Children should be taught about Tinder, Happn and other dating sites in schools, a Sheffield MP has said.

Heeley MP and Shadow Minister Louise Haigh pressed ministers to ensure teachers are trained to educate pupils about how to use the sites appropriately and the potential dangers.

Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley, Louise Haigh

Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley, Louise Haigh

She told MPs in a debate in Westminster Hall that fake Tinder profiles could be used to ‘exploit and groom children’, with a need for better age checks on users of dating applications.

A teacher at a Sheffield special educational needs school highlighted concerns to Ms Haigh about young girls using apps such as Tinder and Happn.

Speaking during a debate on preventing online child abuse, Ms Haigh said: “What I’d really like training to include is the very specific issue of online dating and particularly dating apps.

“Now the concerns around this are very obvious – either older men deliberately looking for young girls or young girls pretending to be older than they are to get older boyfriends.

“This isn’t just exclusive to vulnerable children, this will affect all children.”

Ms Haigh, whose frontbench brief for the Opposition includes digital reform, said existing cyber safety training does not deal with the potentially ‘perilous’ dating sites and apps.

Addressing Home Office Minister Sarah Newton through the speaker, Ms Haigh said: “I’d therefore simply ask the minister if she would consider making representations to Tinder and similar dating apps on this subject.”

She added: “We absolutely must be pushing for them all to ensure there is robust age verification tools across all such platforms.

“Secondly, I’d ask if she could make representations to her colleagues to consult on the training that teachers receive in this area to include dating sites and their appropriate use.”

Last month, dating app Tinder banned users under the age of 18 from signing up to the app.