As anyone who has ever even heard about online dating can tell you, there are potential dangers involved in online dating, as not every profile is who or what it appears to be.
But meddling in someone’s dating life to try to prove a point might be taking safety precautions a little too far, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
After discovering their sister was using Tinder, even though she was underaged, Redditor funnt_tinder_prank decided to pull a dating prank on her to teach her a lesson about online safety.
But when their actions were met with mixed results, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they took the prank too far.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for catfishing my underaged sister on Tinder and humiliating her in order to teach her a lesson?”
The OP recently discovered their sister was using Tinder.
“Last week, I was using my sister Ashley’s phone because mine was dead and I needed to call a friend to confirm plans. Dialing my friend’s number, I saw a Tinder notification of some dude messaging her.”
“Immediately, I asked why she was on Tinder (she’s 17), and she grabbed her phone back and said, ‘None of your business.'”
Curious, the OP decided to set up an account, too.
“I decided that I wanted to have a little fun with this. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt (maybe she’s just swiping for fun?) so I didn’t want to go straight to ratting her to our parents.”
“To test if she was just using for fun, I decided I was going to make a Tinder profile (of someone else) and message her and see if she responds. I asked a good friend from back in college (who happens to be a male model), Kevin, if he’d mind if I used his pictures and explained the situation. He thought it would be hilarious and told me to go for it.”
“I created the account, set my age to 22, set my swipe radius to a mile, and quickly found my sister’s account.”
“Her age was set to 19 (lie, she’s still in high school), so I was definitely more suspicious of her now.”
The OP decided to reach out to her to see what would happen.
“I super-liked and less than an hour later, she matched AND messaged me.”
“I decided to set up a date to a fancy restaurant downtown for Sunday afternoon and told her we could ‘head to my place afterward.'”
“She was completely receptive and said she’d meet me there.”
“She told our parents she was hanging out with one of her track friends and spending the night at her place.”
Then the OP’s parents got involved.
“After she left, I told our parents EVERYTHING and showed them all of the messages.”
“They were pissed, and I suggested we all go to the restaurant.”
“My dad and I just went instead and saw her sitting at a table alone, all dolled up, waiting for ‘Jim.'”
“My dad went up to her and said, ‘Jim’s not coming.'”
“She screamed and asked what we were doing there.”
“I told her that there was no Jim and that it was f**king stupid of her to be trying to meet grown men on Tinder at her age.”
“My dad harped on that and lectured her on lying and meeting strange men on the Internet, and being so willing to go back to a stranger’s place.”
“We were a bit loud so people were starting to look at us and my sister eventually burst into tears and ran out.”
The OP had somewhat split feelings after talking to friends.
“I told my friends in a group chat the situation and they all agreed it was hysterical, except two of my female friends who said I was a ‘f**king d**k’ and ‘cruel’ to her.”
“My other friends defended me and said she needed to be taught a lesson.”
“I’m wondering who’s right and if I went too far?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some were furious with the OP for trying to teach their sister a “lesson.”
“You’re delusional if you think her takeaway from this is, ‘Ahh, Tinder is a risky way to meet up with people. They could fool me and be creeps, or just someone other than their picture!’ instead of, ‘My family is the worst. I’m so excited to move out, and I hope something terrible happens to them.'” – Sportzboytjw
“I think the issue here is simply how he administered said lesson (assuming of course we actually go with the notion that it’s an older brother’s responsibility to do so). Just because she ‘needed to be taught’ doesn’t justify the severity of the response.”
“There were ways to do this in a manner that could have been impactful and less hurtful, but instead they turned it into a gag, and made it as embarrassing as possible.”
“There are several stages where OP could have stopped:”
“1. Could have personally warned sister against the dangers of dating apps.”
“2. Could have informed parents and let them deal with it.”
“3. Could have told Sister before actually going ahead with the ‘date’ after she agreed.”
“4. Could have told parents before letting her go out on her own, potentially putting her safety at actual risk.”
“5. Could have found an excuse to extricate her from the restaurant in a less devastating manner, such as texting from the fake persona to come outside.”
“6. BONUS POINTS: Could have not bragged about it to his friend group and then have the gall to be surprised when they call him out on his s**t.”
“Sure, maybe now she’s learned not to trust people on Tinder.”
“Y’know what else she’s learned? Not to trust her brother with anything again.” – reaver570
“Yeaaah. All this ‘he was doing it for her own good!’ does not seem remotely borne out by reality.”
“Even if his intentions were legitimately to ‘help her’ (and come on, millions of people use these apps and aren’t murdered by fake people, plus she’s lying, so I’m sure she’s aware), I think it’s hardly a likely scenario she’s going to say, ‘Oh, ONLY NOW that my brother set me up do I realize anyone could be anyone!!'”
“She’s going to think her brother is an a**hole and have exactly the same opinion of the likelihood of being lied to by people who aren’t her brother.” – themoogleknight
“Do you think what her brother did teach her any kind of lesson? In case you’re unsure: No, it did not.”
“He admits to doing it to f**k with her and admits to laughing about it with his friends. What he did was s**tty and quite possibly the only thing it taught her was how to be more sneaky.” – PeskyStabber
“YTA- You played a cruel a** trick on your sister because it would be ‘f**king hilarious.'”
“I would have had difficulty, but ultimately probably came down on your side of you’d just told your parents when you first saw it. But you devised an elaborate trap first? No, a**hole move.” – hitchinpost
“17 sounds young from a 21+ year-old standpoint but think about it: when you were in high school you were probably on Hot or Not, and maybe Tinder too. I was on tinder before they made an age limit and there were plenty of high schoolers on there that I matched with while I was around the same age.”
“Disrespecting your family’s privacy is one thing, but humiliating one of them and making them feel miserable in public for no reason? YTA.”
“If you were actually concerned about her behavior, you should’ve been okay with sitting her down and letting you know that you care about her safety and that not all guys are what they seem. This might not have been as effective in your eyes, but you’re probably not stopping her from using tinder in the long run by playing a mean prank on her.” – scarykira
Others were grateful the OP at least reminded her of what could happen out there.
“Yeah, how dare the OP try to show his sister how deceiving people on Tinder can really be. And obviously, she doesn’t know what could happen, either that or she is blinded by an ignorant ‘it can happen to other people but not to me’ mentality.”
“If she knew that people can be deceiving and fake then I don’t see why she would be so shocked when Kevin didn’t really turn out to be Kevin. Whether she knew the consequences or not, what she did was wildly irresponsible and needed to be taught a lesson.”
“I think that it’s clear that him getting his sister to meet this fake person really drove the point of how dangerous her behavior home. He proved that his sister could be lured by any random person posing to be someone else.”
“If he had just told his parents what she was doing, everything would be speculation of what COULD happen and would not reveal the danger of her actions anywhere near as clearly.” – gaystuffweird
“No one can ‘fully comprehend’ just about anything at any point in their life. The frontal lobe isn’t fully developed until around your mid-twenties but as a society, we still permit young adults to drive, enlist in the military, smoke, drink, and partake in all sorts of risky behaviors.”
“Part of growing up is learning how to navigate these kinds of situations. No one expects perfection, but she’s less than a year away from being an adult.” – LoveMeTenderloin
“NTA. She lied to everyone, including your parents. Your sister needed a hard lesson and now she got it.”
“Also, your underage sister is a massive a**hole for lying about her age. I mean, she literally was willing to spend the night at some random dude’s house (NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS, AS LONG AS YOU’RE 18+) and f**k the dude in the process, literally and figuratively, considering the dude could’ve gotten into a lot of s**t over having sex with a 17-year-old even if she lied about her age.”
“Again, NTA.” – 24cones
“I voted NTA, as well, and am appalled at the number of people who think big sibling is an a**. They may have saved this kid’s life… and yeah, if she were caught lying about her age, think of the lawsuit that could have come to her parents. The internet is weird.” – KeolXPr0n
After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update.
“Yes, when I asked if she wants to go to my place afterward, it was heavily implied that she would’ve had sex with Jim. That’s why I went to the extent that I did.”
“Alright after reading all these judgments, I came to the conclusion that I’m TA. But I’m TA she needed. If anything, she knows not to be a complete moron when finding people to hook-up with on Tinder.”
“And to the people who said she’ll never speak to me again, we just finished playing FIFA for the last hour so, oh well.”
The subReddit was thoroughly divided on how the OP handled this, with some viewing it as a learning opportunity, while others saw it as a massive invasion of privacy and even bullying between siblings.
Unfortunately, this likely was not the lesson that the sister needed. Though it might give her the slightest pause the next time she logs into the app, she likely didn’t learn anything from this about meeting up with someone, other than the possibility that it could be her sibling at the other end of the conversation again.