Quarantine hits and millions of people worldwide are asked to remain in their homes. The dating world naturally stops turning, right? Wrong. In reality, the use of dating platforms has skyrocketed. According to RealMe’s latest FTI Study, 3 in 10 daters are using dating apps/sites to feel less lonely. This has led to some extraordinary milestones. OkCupid has seen a 30% spike in messages sent each day since March, meanwhile Tinder celebrated its most successful day the same month, with users swiping over 3 billion times.
If one thing is certain, it’s that singles have embraced new ways of getting to know one another under physical limitations. But what lies ahead for dating post-pandemic and what will be the lasting impact of these new experiences? Whatever the outcome, the personal safety of users must be at the forefront of any new movements, features and trends.
Emotional Over Physical?
With the world being forced to refrain from any form of physical interaction or intimacy, many daters are relying on emotional connections. Could this mean that the pandemic is creating more meaningful relationships? The Online Dating Association (ODA) found that 53% of dating service/app users felt they were having longer conversations during the COVID-19 pandemic. If so, this could arguably be a positive outcome of the global pandemic.
Without physical interactions to rely on, users are filling the silence by having longer, more meaningful conversations. This creates more personal connections and can aid safety by forcing people to reveal more about themselves. Lies are difficult to maintain and help put off those with ulterior motives.
Of course, there will always be downfalls to the digitization of the dating world. Technology provides more opportunities for misconduct. Using their devices as a smokescreen, people are more likely to lie about who they say they are, and distort their true identity.
This potential for being misled has intensified calls for more safety features. The ODA also revealed that almost half (47%) of users hoped for new or improved features that enforce stricter codes of conduct to help people feel safer.
Taking action, some dating apps have rolled out various user verification tools, such as Tinder’s photo-based ‘blue check’ safety feature. However, at RealMe, we go one step further. Working closely with platform providers, we provide deep background information, such as criminal red flags and sexual predator status, to ensure their users are not just real, but that they pose no threat to other users. Our technology uses credible data sources to analyse profiles and alert owners of misleading information. With software-based background checks, we check that people are who they say they are and make dating apps safer with ease.
The New ‘Normal’: Social Disdating
Our definition of normal is changing every day, and the same goes for dating apps and services. In a world of social distancing, we’ve seen new features such as Hinge’s ‘Date from Home’ Feature and Bumble’s ‘Live’ button letting users to meet and interact from the comfort of their own homes.
It’s easy, less time consuming, and eradicates any fears or risks of meeting with a stranger in person. It doesn’t mean they don’t come with security risks though. While the physical threat is minimised, these virtual encounters make scammers or fake users more confident. Without tools to check for frauds, the opportunity for more people falling victim to deceitful profiles and other potential crimes could in fact rise.
This is where we come in. RealMe verifies users and provides additional information such as criminal records or sexual offender status. We can help eliminate these worries for both dating platforms and their users, ensuring only genuine, truthful users are allowed to enjoy this exciting new world of ‘social disdating’.
How Far Will it Go?
For all the buzz around the new wave of dating norms, the industry must not lose sight of what truly matters; ensuring user safety and connecting real people. Now more than ever, these platforms are being used to cure loneliness in hard times. Unfortunately, this creates opportunity for those willing – albeit innocently – to mislead others. Now, we must work harder than ever to facilitate enjoyable online dating experiences that do not compromise on safety.
The future of dating is exciting and unknown, but the protection of users will always be the priority above all else. Pandemic or not, RealMe embodies this and will work hard with our partners to make dating safe for every real user.