We are in a time where more and more are using dating apps to seek out love but even with the majority saying that they feel themselves becoming ‘too disposable’ and lack a sense of deep connection, user safety is fast becoming vital.
Safety is a term throughout the internet that has been mainly left to the tech companies, but so far is failing the users. With the initial thoughts of Elon Musk buying Twitter, one of his first statements was to tackle the fake accounts and to find a better way to verify its users. Dating apps have the exact same problem where many of their users are fake e.g. sniffers, trolls, robots, catfishers or users lying about their details. The CEO of Katch.ie Paul Numan says “The current state of dating apps is like going into a nightclub where there is no security staff, no safety standards and no security cameras – over time it has built up a vast array of all sorts of delinquents that are out to do harm to the average patron”. Some of the basic ways of staying safe on dating apps according to Mr Numan are:
- Never send private pictures to anyone or post them
- Stay inside the dating app messaging platform
- Never send your personal email or phone to anyone
- If possible setup a new email for the app
- Never click links in chat messages unless you trust the person very well
- Never reveal your exact location online
- Understand the app’s security and privacy settings
- If scheduling an initial meet up, let a friend or family know the details and have a get out plan
- If in doubt at all, report what happened.
Our message is be careful and cautious in your fun escapade online. Bear in mind that there is currently no punishment for harassment or bullying online – in most cases “abuse” goes unreported. Data from a 2020 Pew Research Center study confirms that many women are experiencing some form of harassment on dating sites and apps. Of woman online daters aged 18 to 34, 57% said they’d received sexually explicit messages or images they hadn’t asked for. This is even the case for teen girls aged 15 to 17, who report receiving these messages as well. A 2018 Australian study of dating-platform messages revealed that the sexist abuse and harassment does disproportionately affect women, targeted by straight men.