Safety first! Dating apps do little to keep us safe

Having “fun” and looking for “fun” is fine.  Everyone is free to choose how to go about with life.  Harassing, objectifying, deceiving and pushing things even further is oh so wrong, not fun. Bad behaviour on dating apps makes us want to step in and help our friends.

The marketing used by online dating makes it all sound nice and sweet.  You connect with people, enjoy your time with them, and if things go well, who knows, you might even have a long future.  The message is that online dating is convenient, harmless, and has no cons.  None of the apps brings up the safety card!

Harassment on dating apps

We have experienced it first hand, heard about it from friends, or read about it in the press; the deception and the life scars some users experience with dating apps are unacceptable.  Some outcomes are fairytales, while all accounts have had to go through the murky unsafe junk that prevails before getting to their bliss.

Our team considered where to focus our ambitions and energy.  Our early research into the dating app market brought us to Kaspersky Lab’s online dating report.  We discovered that over 53 per cent of millennials women had received unsolicited dick pics from older men 😱.  We have also learnt that “55 per cent of users have experienced some form of threat or problem”. This online dating data is so radical it is hard to believe.  So we had to check this for ourselves.  We did a ton of customer research interviewing men, women, lesbians, and gays.  They all reported this lousy behaviour. 

One interview that stands out was of a gorgeous and ambitious 18-year straight black woman called Kate from South London.  Kate chose to go on dating apps during the novel coronavirus pandemic.  Kate was locked in her flat during the earlier days, so she downloaded these to relax a bit but defying her expectations, what happened hurt her.  Kate reported that more than 90 per cent of the messages received were straight sexual.  She attributes this extreme situation to the neighbourhood she lives in and her age group.  Our other interviews all had traces of this.  This is unacceptable, and we want to help Kate out.

Why would anybody behave in such a way with Kate is also an interesting question?  Some of the reasons are probably the immaturity of men of Kate’s age.  The relative anonymity users have on dating app.  The plethora of options available.  The lack of confidence these users have in any success, inciting them to sabotage things right from the start.

We also want to help these perpetrators!  We won’t be able to sort out the extremes, but how about the fringe that loses themselves to their darker side out of boredom while being great brothers (sisters), friends and cousins?  How can we give them more confidence to grow their ambitions?  How can we make them aware of their responsibilities towards women (and other genders)?  How can we make their actions’ impact on others abundantly clear?
Can we get their best self to shine?  Help them grow, improve as people, friends and potential partners?  How can they become part of a safe solution for dating apps?

Criminal behaviour on dating apps

Let’s not stop there!  After eliminating this foolish aggressive behaviour from dating apps, how can we eliminate the worst forms of dating app safety issues?  The first types are a waste of time and a scratch to our karma, but there is much worse.  The more manipulative type of mischievous users will play nice until a physical meeting takes place.  The people that invest time and meetings before unveiling their true selfish nature.  Sadly, victims of online dating brutal stories tend to keep to themselves. 

ABC (Australian Broadcast Corporation) show, 4 Corners, in their episode “Tinder: A Predators’ Playground” [1], offers the best account.  The reporting describes and illustrates how dating apps have become the perfect hunting ground for psychopaths.
“It’s like a minefield…  It’s a perfect platform for predators and scammers.”  Father.
“I think we are really only seeing the tip of the iceberg.  I think there are some additional barriers to these sexual assaults being reported, and I think the real number that’s occurring is much greater than what we’re seeing.”  Forensic doctor

And the worst about this is that perpetrators play their vile tricks repeatedly with little intervention from the app themselves.
Incredibly current dating apps seem to have other priorities.  The Daily Mail reported that “Former employees of Match Group, which operates Tinder, told the investigation they were too under-resourced to deal with the deluge of sexual assault complaints they received.”  Emily reported seeing her rapist meet on Tinder reappeared on her swipe feed and was dismayed by the little support from the app 👏.  

The safest dating app

If this does not make your blood boil, if this safety problem is not motivating enough to solve, we do not know what can?
We all have sisters, daughters, and single friends we want to shield from these dating app safety issues.
We want to offer an app that would suppress lousy behaviour before it happens and encourage kindness.

We designed DearReal from the heart and start to bring out the best in all its users.
Step aside, Tinder, DearReal is here to help.

[1]  4 Corners, in their episode “Tinder: A Predators’ Playground.”

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