It seems that not a week goes by without seeing another story about a date gone horribly wrong. With stories of stalking, sexual assault, and occasional murder, it is a grim reminder that the fun of dating apps can sometimes bring about safety concerns.
While there are a number of things that users can do to promote greater safety, there is also an expectation that the dating apps themselves provide as safe of a user experience as possible. Fortunately, there have been a number of safety features that apps have rolled out in recent years that aim to make dating a safer situation. Let’s take a look at some of these features and where to find them.
1) Sharing Location with Friends
Facebook Dating is a more recent entry to the dating app world with its dating application actually run off of the Facebook app itself rather than a separate app. However, it is also one that has succeeded in introducing this useful safety feature.
Facebook Dating allows users to have the app send a notification to an identified friend through Messenger fifteen minutes prior to the beginning of a date. This notification will include the date, time, and place of the data and will share location for an hour. This ensures that someone knows where you are and can help provide for greater safety.
2) Photo Verification
Helping to authenticate the ID of people who are on dating apps is an important task that many apps have started to investigate. Currently, two apps – Bumble and Tinder – have efforts to provide photo verification. Users can take a photo in a specific pose in order to prove that they are real and not catfish.
Users who pass the photo verification will have a checkmark that notifies that they are verified users. This can give people a little extra confidence as they swipe. Ultimately, this helps ensure that people are not posing as others to lure in users, providing an important safeguard for users.
3) Panic Buttons
Tinder has added a panic button that can be found under the user safety center. This is created through a partnership with Noonlight. Users will access it through the separate Noonlight app, which can be opened either directly or by linking through the user safety center.
If you are on a date and find yourself in a concerning situation, press the panic button in the Noonlight app and dispatchers will immediately be notified. They will send a text with a code and follow-up with a phone call. If the call is not answered, emergency services will immediately be dispatched for assistance. This provides an excellent safety feature that can quickly connect people with emergency assistance in the event of a date gone bad.
4) Video Chatting
One of the easiest ways to get to know someone before meeting in person is through video chat. However, many traditional methods require exchanging of phone numbers or other information that you may want to keep private. Bumble and Hinge have both added the ability to video chat on their apps.
This provides a number of very important benefits. First, you can verify that a person is really who they say they are. Secondly, you can interact in a non-text-based manner that can allow you to better judge people. This can help you get a vibe about someone and decide whether or not to meet in person.
5) Reporting Concerning Behavior
One of the most effective things that dating apps can do to keep users safe is harness the power of crowdsourcing. Most apps now have features that allow users to report concerning content or interactions. Thus, if a user has a concerning experience, rather than simply unmatching, they can report the user to the dating app.
This process allows apps to review concerning behavior and can result in users being banned from the app. This is more of a behind the scenes feature but provides an extra layer of safety to users.
6) Background Checks
Wouldn’t it be nice to perform a background check quickly and easily on a potential date before meeting in person? Tinder believes it is possible and plans to roll out this feature later this year. Users will be able to get access to any information that would indicate a history of violence or abuse.
Tinder is rolling out this function through a partnership with Garbo, a non-profit organization. Users will be able to see arrest data, conviction history, restraining orders, and any other public record centered around violence. This will be a valuable tool for helping screen potential dates.
In just the most recent few years, dating apps have greatly improved the safety features that they provide to users. These have greatly enhanced the safeguards around online dating. These features will likely continue to be improved in future years. While it is always important to use your best judgement, these features help make dating more fun and safe than ever before.