It’s that time of year again. Say hello to long summer days and hot summer nights. And this year, many of us are looking forward to getting back to doing what we love most – meeting and spending time with people while soaking up the good weather. For singles around the world, the summer months are one of the peak seasons for new encounters. But there is something different in the air of summer 2021.
We’re starting to see distancing restrictions relax in many parts of the world as we creep closer to – dare we say it – normality. With so much time spent virtual dating these past 18 months, it’s no surprise that many daters can’t wait to quite literally get back out there and start taking their online connections offline again.
However, it’s important to not get caught up in the excitement of the return of physical meet-ups, as moving too fast could leave daters at more risk of failing to spot warning signs and falling victim to catfishing, or worse still, romance scams. In our recent Dating Industry Insider survey conducted in partnership with GDI, 4 in 5 admitted to seeing similar or increased incidents over the past year. With scamming and catfishing on the rise, as the weather heats up, so is the dating scene. Now is the time to remind ourselves of the potential risks that daters may face – some old and some new.
Let’s take a look at the safety issues hotting up in the summer season of 2021.
Dating apps worked hard to keep their users connected during lockdowns, getting creative with new virtual features – from video chat to in-app ice breaker games. While these features have been a dating lifeline for singles over the last 18 months, a return to in-person dates will naturally decrease the use of these new features. But that doesn’t mean they are gone for good.
We’ve seen hybrid workplaces take the world by storm and now, this summer could pave the way for ‘hybrid dating,’ where these new virtual features act as a first screening. Beyond checking your chemistry to decide whether or not to take the conversation to an in-person date, these features also help from a safety point of view. Video chats make it difficult to hide your appearance to reduce catfishing situations and in-app games are a great way to find out more about your match’s personality and level of genuity or catch warning signs or unusual behavior much early on.
What’s important is that dating apps have tools and technology in place to keep users safe as they take their online matches offline, wherever they may be. This is something that RealMe is working closely with industry partners to create. Our CheckPlus security solution was created in collaboration with Spectrum Labs and UrSafe to bridge the gap between in-app, off-app, and offline protection.
CheckPlus authenticates a user’s Reputation Score by validating personal data, criminal flags, sex offender status, and even personal reviews when available. With Spectrum Labs’ contextual AI and automation capabilities, the user’s data can be analyzed to identify patterns of harassing or toxic behavior with off-app analysis. To provide offline security, RealMe users can take advantage of UrSafe’s safety app to stay connected with friends, family, and even local authorities while out on an in-person date.
With options for voice-activated SOS, real-time location-sharing, and geo-located emergency response, users can discreetly ask for help if they feel uncomfortable or threatened at any point. This feature can also be used to let people know you are safe and comfortable on an in-person date for all important peace of mind.
Faking your vax status
The pandemic has left its mark on almost every aspect of our lives – and online dating is no exception. While meeting the one is important, keeping yourself safe and healthy is too and this is where the vaccination status comes in. While you would hope that matches would be open and honest about their status, the need to keep users safe has put dating apps into action.
A few months ago, The White House teamed up with popular online dating platforms including Hinge, Bumble, and Tinder to encourage more Americans to get vaccinated. In a bid to protect users, these apps are allowing users to see if their matches are fully vaccinated, not yet vaccinated, or would ‘prefer not to disclose’.
Of course, this is a huge step towards safer dating, but what’s to say that less genuine users might try to mislead others with a false status? It’s up to dating brands and their partners to take steps to verify the information that users give, to keep genuine users safe in the first post-pandemic summer of love.
Here at RealMe, we work hard to give dating apps and their users robust background and reputation checks that help to separate the real from the fake or misleading. By aggregating publicly available information from government, social, and other sources, plus personal reviews written by others, we can build a profile that helps brands to take action against anyone likely to dupe or deceive their users, making dating safer, easier, and more fun in the summer months and beyond.
To find out how RealMe helps users to stay safe when dating online, please visit: www.therealme.com/dating