NewsCrime Desk

Paedos targeting Irish kids on controversial ‘hook up’ app

Paedos targeting Irish kids on controversial ‘hook up’ app

A Sunday World investigation today reveals how twisted paedophiles are using fake social media profiles to groom vulnerable young girls on the controversial dating app ‘Teenage Tinder’.

The app, which has become synonymous with casual hook-ups and no-strings-attached sex, now features a separate community for younger members aged 13 to 17 years old.

Just like the adult version, underage users can swipe right to make a match with another user, or swipe left to continue looking at potential matches.

Users aged between the age of 13 and 17 are meant to be ‘invisible’ to adult members as a safety measure.

However, an exclusive Sunday World investigation can reveal that potential sexual predators are using the controversial dating site to befriend  unsuspecting teens.

Proving just how simple it is to manipulate the app, which uses information based on members’ Facebook profiles – including their photos and date of birth – our reporter sets up a fake account.

Once the account is live, it takes less than five minutes for us to set up a profile as a 14-year-old girl called ‘Dee’ on Teenage Tinder.

Within minutes we encounter a  predator who says he’s based in Meath. The user, who goes by the name of Mark, brazenly admits to being over the age allowed.

“My name is Mark im 25 not 17 don’t know how to use this thing, from Dublin living in meath, have snapchat just ask.”

After making contact, ‘Mark’ quickly asks the underage user to get in touch.

“ How are you – in bed snapchat me.”

Once on Snapchat – a mobile app that allows you to send pictures which vanish after a few seconds of a person viewing them – the conversation immediately turns sinister.

“Have you done much with a lad?”

Not interested in small talk, the sicko instantly makes his intentions clear and asks our girl for naked pictures, despite believing she is just 14.

Stressing that we are in school and can’t talk, an undeterred Mark says,

“I am 25. U have a nice body?

Nice little t**s? Nice I like little t**s.

Nice can I see?

“Send me a sexy pic. Show me your t**s.

I will show you my c**k.”

When our reporter refuses to send naked pictures he urges: “Your pic would only be for me. That’s why I sent you one first, I promise.”

Claiming that he’s a model, he is happy to send selfies of himself in bed, and later sends more explicit images.

When his selfies fail to match up with his online profile, it only takes a simple Google search to trace the stolen images on his profile to a model based in Dubai.

The model – who is oblivious to his images being stolen – has no links to Ireland and has a different name.

Within minutes of going online, we have more than a dozen matches – some as young as 13 – all of whom are oblivious to our fake profile.

In an alarming number of cases, no effort has been made to obscure personal details, with the names of teenagers’ schools often included in their profile.

One user writes: “I’m 18 6’3 I’m up for sending nudes so just message me.”

A 16-year-old user adds: “I’m a bit of fun if your fun wouldn’t mind meeting up.”

Our shock exposé comes after a Dublin man was convicted of using a fake social media profile to convince a young girl to come to his house and have sex with him.

Conor O’Keefe (26), set up a profile as a 13-year-old girl called ‘Julie’ on the website and started chatting with the 15-year-old victim.

Conor O'Keefe

O’Keefe admitted to Gardaí that he set up the profile of Julie so he could view the under 18s version of that site. The victim made contact with the fake profile and the two chatted.

Julie told the girl she had a 22-year-old brother called ‘Adam’ who had a car and asked if she would be interested in meeting him. The girl told Julie she was only 15.

O’Keefe later spoke to the girl under the guise of Adam. He also emailed her a picture of himself using an email address containing his real name.

Early one morning O’Keefe asked the girl to come over to his house. He told her to get a taxi and that he would pay for it.

The girl later told Gardaí he was “trying to guilt trip me into coming over” by saying that if she liked him she would agree.

When she arrived, she said he began “bugging” her about giving him oral sex. He told her she’d have to agree to do something. The girl agreed to have sex.

Afterwards he drove her home. When she arrived  her mother knew something was wrong. The girl later told her what happened.

With one in six Irish teens now using online dating services, leading child and family therapist David Kavanagh warned parents to be vigilant, saying: “This is one of the most dangerous places a child can be.”

Slamming parents for allowing their children to use the hook-up app, the expert added: “You have the associated risks, who are your children really talking to? Any parent that is allowing their children to be on Tinder must completely supervise their activity.”

Calling for the dating app to be blocked from teen phones, he said: “Make no mistake, paedophiles are predominantly online.

“Parents have to ask themselves serious questions, what do they think Tinder is for?

“Parents should be aware that there are fake profiles on Facebook and it is very easy for people to pretend to be someone else.

“I think that the creators of Tinder have a lot to answer for. I urge parents to block this app immediately,” he added.