The Dark Side of Online Dating

Online dating apps are on the rise and will continue to grow through future generations. Face to face communication was completely cut off during the Covid-19 pandemic forcing everyone to connect over social media apps which led to the rise of online dating. Online dating apps put people in contact with others that they have never met before. Although some people can create lasting relationships through dating apps, I think it’s important to discuss the dangers of online dating. A Pew Research Center article written on February 6, 2020, explains the downsides and dangers of online dating with many different statistics.  Everyone always hears about the dangers of online dating but I was really interested in seeing the actual statistics given by the Pew Research Center and other articles.

According to an article written by BBC Worklife titled the darkest side of online dating, women often feel harassed on dating apps and used for their bodies. This article quoted a woman named Shani Silver, a writer and podcast host, and she said “I was often asked for a sexual favor before someone said hello, before someone told me their actual name”. This article mainly focused on how women think dating apps such as tinder can be negative and dangerous as opposed to the opinion of men.  

I found another article discussing the dangers of online dating on the dangers of online dating written by Brittney Mayer on July 15, 2020. I was surprised to see some of these statistics such as 1 in 10 sex offenders are on a dating app and 25% of rapists find their victims on online dating apps. Also, 62% lie about their relationship status on their profiles, 51% are in a long-term committed relationship and 11% are already married. When you look at the number of people who are either sex offenders or in relationships, it’s crazy that some people do create good relationships on dating apps and I found these statistics pretty scary. This article also included ways to protect yourself from the dangers of online dating. These include using a trusted platform, researching your matches, never giving out personal information, and blocking people who you think could potentially harm you. 

To further my research, I decided to interview my best friend who is a junior at Temple University. I wanted to ask her opinion on online dating apps especially with her living in a city environment which could make it more difficult to meet people online. In her opinion “I think meeting people on online dating apps is very artificial because you’re taught to not judge a book by its cover but on dating apps you’re basically swiping on them based on attractiveness and then maybe you’ll get to know them”. She also said that she disagrees with the new ‘hookup culture’ and believes that it’s rare for someone to actually want to settle down and be in a real relationship if they are on dating apps. When I asked if she thinks it’s harder to meet people on dating apps in a big city such as Philadelphia, she said yes because it’s harder to trust people in cities. She also said that for safety, whenever she meets anyone online for the first time, she always googles them first, meets them in a group, or shares her locations with her friends. 

For another perspective, I decided to interview my Dad who has no experience at all using online dating apps. I thought his opinion was important because he has only heard about dating apps from what is on the news so he has mainly a negative opinion. He said “I think some people go on these dating apps to find love but overall I think it can be very dangerous and I wouldn’t want my daughters going on a date alone with a complete stranger, people just have to be smart about it especially in today’s society”. In my opinion, the older generation is more hesitant when it comes to online dating apps because they weren’t around when they were meeting people.

I researched a lot about the negative experiences that women have on dating apps but I also wanted to include the experiences men have. Although women are usually at a higher risk for danger than men on dating apps, I think it’s important to say that it’s not always the case and men can be victims of scam or harassment as well. According to an article by Kaspersky Daily, men are quicker to give out their personal information which can be very dangerous when meeting people online. Female users are likely to give out their personal information after several months and men are most likely to give out their personal information after just minutes or hours. It’s important to be aware of what personal information you are giving to others for better safety. 

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