Research shows that a surprising number of single parents share their children's photos on online dating sites. According to a definitely not-peer-reviewed study from England Mummy Pages, almost one out of every four mothers and a whopping 71 percent of fathers readily post pictures of their offspring to their Tinder profiles. This aligns with my experience -- and it's also completely insane. Also, dangerous.
Dating is a challenge under any circumstances, but especially so if you're a single parent. But sharing too much information about your kids in any online setting frequented by strangers is a terrible idea. The whole point of Tinder is to interact with strangers. This shouldn't include pictures of your kid -- which can expose them to precisely the wrong kind of people. Should you be concerned that any right swipe can put them in the path of a pedophile? The short answer is yes. Although there's no real reason to believe Tinder, or any other dating site, is more dangerous than the outside world, one should takes precautions in both. Assuming that everyone has the best intentions towards children is irresponsible.
The worst offenders here are the dads, who post pics in alarming numbers. Dangling your cute kid as bait for a potential partners was a bad look way before the internet. And it's worse now. If you see a picture of a dad and his kid on a dating site, just remember that he was willing to risk his child's safety -- to whatever degree -- to make himself appear a viable mate. He isn't.
Single parents, regardless of gender, argue that having a child pictured can be an effective way to screen those uninterested in parenthood. That's complete nonsense. Sure, for single parents pursuing a long-term thing, kids are a part of the package deal. But if a person has already stated in their profile that they're a parent, posting their child's picture is only a visual test. They're hoping for some positive judgment or approval from a potential match, based solely on an image. It's one thing for random adults to judge each other based on physical traits, but is that kind of superficial pass or fail really something kids should be dragged into? Nope.
And what's the best possible outcome? Play the tape out: You've already mentioned that you have a rugrat, so what sort of reaction are you expecting to elicit from your youngster's photo? "I was totes about to swipe left, but your little Oilver is SOOOOOO cute, maybe we should go grab a drink after all!"
Now you've got a potential babysitter.
So, single parents of the world, do yourselves a favor and perfect your selfie game. Hell, hire a professional photographer if you must. Just keep your kid out of it. Tinder isn't a good look on minors, and minors aren't a good look on you.
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Photos via Flickr