Love At First Swipe: Are Dating Apps Building A ‘Safe’ Space To Protect Users?

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Dating Apps
Image Credits: Pexels

Today, we have simplified the search for ‘love’ at a mere swipe left or right on dating apps. But, the recent Shraddha – Aftab murder case has questioned the safety of users in the online dating world. 

Be it casual flings or leaping for serious committed relationships, it is imperative to have a platform that caters to your needs to find love. Love at first swipe: at the power of your fingertips, dating apps today offer the same twinkling hope. Online dating platforms have altered to be a non-judgmental space for singles, but can these famous platforms be a safe space to discover potential love interests?

You’re excited to find someone new, but it’s a gnarly game due to prolonged social distance. Statista forecasted that nearly 280 million users will likely turn to online dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and OkCupid looking for love by 2024. That’s a lot of fish in the sea! But, personally I feel wary of meeting strangers. I have heard many stories where people meet on these dating apps, and it turns out to be way worse than expected. They have good conversations online, but when they meet offline, it is totally different.

Cheating, abusive behavior, and obscene remarks have disproportionately affected younger women in this dating world. One of the most notorious and insensitive ways to hurt someone online is ‘ghosting.’ In a conventional relationship, people prefer meeting face-to-face and breaking the connection. In an online environment, people simply ghost people by slowly ‘melting away’ from daily conversations and disappearing into the digital world.

According to a study, ‘Digital dating abuse perpetration and impact’ conducted by Melbourne researcher Cynthia Brown, men and women are affected differently. While men are more concerned about their reputation, women start stressing and have a lot of negative emotions, making them easy prey for manipulative and abusive relationships. She suggested that women are always at the receiving end of negative remarks and bad behavior.

One of my relative’s friend met a guy online and fell in love. Unfortunately, the girl went against her parent’s wishes and left the city to meet the online guy. Through a photo posted, the parents learned that she married an old disabled person. Months later, the girl tried contacting her parents and told them that the guy’s family had created this fake account to find a wife caring for their son. Before the girl could react or run away, the boy’s family held the girl captive and got her married to their son. Today, the girl is untraceable, and no one knows where she lives or how she can return to her parents.

Online dating can be fun, but it is like uncovering a needle in a haystack. The recent Shraddha Walker’s brutal murder by her live-in partner Aftab Poonawala in Mehrauli has shocked the entire country. They met on Bumble, and the case focused on the dark side of dating apps involving many inherent risks.

A ‘safe’ space to find love?

Dating Apps
Image Credits: Pexels

Fake accounts or ‘catfishing’ has been a dark reality of social media conversations and dating apps. Unfortunately, fear and doubts about the person you meet online will always prevail because the apps don’t focus much on checking a person’s criminal background. However, well-known apps like Tinder have updated their terms and policies to ensure a safe space for single persons and increase trust in profile members.

Of course, there is a need to be cautious about these dating apps as it is evolving to cater to the needs of people post the lockdown. The users will have high expectations for meeting ‘new’ authentic, and engaging people. However, it is evident that dating apps are here to stay, and these companies need to focus on building a precautious and ‘safer’ space.

The endless swiping culture can make you dismiss potential love interests and act callously. Ultimately, a person has to tread carefully while talking to strangers online. We all are humans that crave connections, and these apps are built to create an opportunity to meet people with similar interests and values. As an individual, all you can do is trust your guts while meeting people online.

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