The UK’s National Crime Agency has warned gay men to ensure that the men they meet and exchange photos with on dating sites or sex apps like Grindr are over the age of 18.
“No matter what age you are, if you’re in any doubt of your partner’s age – just don’t do it,” a spokesperson told Gay Star News.
“The key thing is, we recognise people will use these sites to explore their sexuality. But if you’re feeling uncomfortable and questioning the age of someone else, don’t get involved.
“…the responsibility always rests with the adult. It doesn’t matter if the adult is 19 or 90, the responsibility lies with them,” said the spokesperson.
And it’s not just having sex with a minor. Exchanging racy pictures with someone under the age of 18 will also get you into trouble. In the UK, as in South Africa, having a pornographic image or video on your phone, tablet or computer of a minor is illegal.
While in South Africa consensual sex with someone 16 and older is allowed, it’s a different story when it comes to nude or x-rated images. If you share, exchange or play a part in the creation of these kinds of pictures – even pictures of yourself – with anyone under the age of 18, you could be jailed for up to ten years.
In a statement, Grindr said: “We do our best to ensure all users follow our strict terms-of-service policy that require users to be at a minimum age of 18.”
“We have a diligent team of moderators focused on monitoring and ensuring users adhere to our terms-of-service guidelines.”