“The #1 teen dating website in the world” That’s the claim of MyLOL, which offers 13 to 19-year-olds the chance to rate each other’s pics, send private messages and contact strangers online. If that sets your alarm bells ringing, you’re far from alone: law enforcement agencies and schools in several countries have seen fit to issue warnings about the platform.
Among the main issues is the fact that MyLOL doesn’t have a reliable age verification method – meaning there’s no foolproof way to stop anyone outside the platform’s intended 13–19 audience signing up for an account under a false age. Our #WakeUpWednesday guide also highlights potential concerns around in-app purchases and the use of geolocation for sinister reasons.
Teenagers’ blossoming interest in romantic relationships and their devotion to online networking is a potent combination – and, regrettably, not always a safe one. It raises all kind of worries about the possibility of sharing intimate images or deeply personal information; and that’s simply with contacts their own age – to say nothing of the chance of connecting with an older stranger.
MyLOL – a site which specifically facilitates interaction between 13 to 19-year-olds – has amassed around a million users worldwide, but sadly its safeguarding protocols can’t match that level of success. The ease with which an adult could pose as a teen under a bogus birthdate makes grooming a realistic threat – and that’s far from the platform’s only risk, as our guide explains.