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Most services offer digital messaging, while others provide additional services such as webcasts, online chat, telephone chat (VOIP), and message boards.Members can constrain their interactions to the online space, or they can arrange a date to meet in person.Jessica Stephens (not her real name), a San Francisco mother of four, has heard the term "hooking up" among her teenage sons' friends, but she's just not sure what it means. "It used to mean getting together at a party and would include some form of petting and sexual activity," says Lynn Ponton, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of The Sex Lives of Teenagers: Revealing the Secret World of Adolescent Boys and Girls. " Teens use the expression hooking up (or "messing around" or "friends with benefits") to describe everything from kissing to having oral sex or intercourse. Hooking up isn't a new phenomenon -- it's been around for at least 50 years.The pair met on the hook-up app “Hot or Not,” which prompted the judge on the case to bemoan, at length, the sexual mores of kids these days.
Hot or Not is one of several hook-up apps that welcomes both children and adults. Young/Detroit News via AP) Zach Anderson, an Indiana teenager, was recently sentenced to 25 years on that state’s sex offender registry after he slept with a 14-year-old who told him she was 17.In the casual-sex "hookup" culture, courtship happens by text and tweet. Crude photos, even nude photos, play a role once reserved for the handwritten note saying, "Hey, I like you." According to new research, boys who engage in this kind of sexualized behavior say they have no intention to be hostile or demeaning — precisely the opposite.While they admit they are pushing limits, they also think they are simply courting.Meanwhile, behemoth Tinder, despite banning the solicitation of “personal information from anyone under the age of 18,” openly welcomes underage users: In fact, in February 2014, Tinder’s Justin Mateen bragged that more than 7 percent of all users are between 13 and 17. “There needs to be, in my opinion, greater responsibility on the part of app creators and developers,” said Donna Rice Hughes, the president and CEO of the Internet safety group Enough Is Enough.“They are creating an opportunity for strangers to meet each other, and they’re not recognizing that in those situations young people are particularly vulnerable.” To their credit, of course, most of these apps do claim to segregate the over-18s from the under-18s.
A 15-year-old girl sits in high school English class when a text message pops up on her cellphone. Will you at least be my girlfriend." It's the kind of scenario that's playing out among teens across America, illustrating an increasing confusion among boys about how to behave, experts say.