Gay and bisexual teen boys are using Grindr and other hookup apps to meet new friends as well as form relationships, according to new research.

More than half of the teen app users are seeking friendships rather than just sex, Pink News has reported.

While gay apps such as Grindr and Scruff require users to be aged over 18, many younger teens are using them to make connections.

The research by Northwestern University in the US surveyed 200 teen boys about their activities.

“We found that teens in this study were super excited that somebody was paying attention with what was going on in their lives and how these apps played a role in their sexual development and coming-out process,” said study author Dr Kathryn Macapagal.

“Youth who use these apps are, many times, also looking for partners on Facebook, Instagram, Tinder… If you’re using something like Grindr, the likelihood of you having a sexual relationship with this person is higher.

“But we also found that although you might have had sexual relations with these folks, these folks might have turned into friends, they might have turned into boyfriends.

“So there is some evidence that youth are getting lots more out of these apps than just sexual relationships.”

In response to the evidence that teens are using hookup apps in defiance of the terms of service, a spokesperson for Grindr reiterated that the app is only for adults.

“Grindr does not condone illegal or improper behaviour and we are troubled that an underage person may have been using our app in violation of our terms of service,” they said.

“Grindr services are only available for adults.

“Grindr encourages anyone aware of any illegal or improper activity on the app to submit a report either within the app or via email.”

The study showed that teens using apps such as Grindr are more likely to be accessing HIV testing and other sexual health services.

“The sooner we understand the role these apps play in the lives of gay and bisexual teen guys, the sooner we will be able to tailor sex education and HIV prevention efforts for this population and help them live healthier lives,” said Macapagal.

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