More than a quarter of new relationships in the UK now originate from talking on a dating website or app and for young adults, being single is practically synonymous with having a Tinder profile ( I personally know several very happy couples who met on Tinder and would not have met if it were not for the app.) However, like everything, it is a choice. At the beginning of the year, River decided to take a hiatus as dating was becoming a bit of a drag.
Dating companies are being pushed to better protect users, but some seem reluctant to do more— or even to talk about whether there’s a problem.
John Leech thinks the situation is new, and dangerous.
Victims, as well as perpetrators, hide crimes: Only an estimated 17% of all rapes, app-linked or not, are reported to police, the NCA said.
Nevertheless, while app-related assaults were still rare, they were rising fast enough for the NCA to flag the emergence of “a new type of sexual offender.” Usually a man, he’s less likely than other sexual offenders to have committed any kind of crime before, but instead exploits the “ease of access and arm-chair approach” to meeting people that dating sites enable.
Decisions to meet arise from limited information: A convenient location; a sultry glance captured in pixels; a mutual interest in “banter.” In 2014, Tinder users were spending as long as 90 minutes a day on the site.
But fake profiles abound, sexual predators use the sites, and some common online dating behavior—like meeting alone after scant acquaintance, sharing personal information, and using geolocation—puts users at risk.
“The stakes were higher, you had to be really sure that you liked that person and were willing to take the risk, therefore the reward was much sweeter and the risk, sometimes worth it,” she says.
“Those days are gone now that matches are instantly won, lost and unmatched and a catalogue roster of willing victims await when things don't go precisely the way one might want them to play out.
In Britain, attacks related to online dating increased almost six-fold over roughly the same period.
If the US and UK are experiencing the same trends, then online dating is indeed becoming more dangerous.
Peruse the small ads but don't get addicted to the porridge pot of infinite possibilities offered by the internet. Challenge yourself to do one slightly adventurous thing per week.