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Reflections

Dating Apps: Pray against Predators

Finding sex partners through the Internet has also become relatively common, although this practice has both benefits and drawbacks.

Robert A. Shultz – BBVA

It’s no secret that ever since the Internet was invented, sex has played a role in all sorts of advertisements, entertainment, and user experience. However, in 2020 things have escalated farther than I could have ever imagined.

Tara Cassidy – ABC News

Due to apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, or even Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, finding a sexual partner online has never been easier. But this has both pros and cons.

PRO: Finding a sexual partner online is much more convenient.

Online dating can be done on your own schedule, at your own pace, and you have hundreds more options to choose from. For a work-oriented, fast paced lifestyle generation, this is a major plus.

Whether you live in the middle of nowhere or in the center of a metropolitan area, you have numerous potential interests at your fingertips. Dating apps can also take away the need for some small talk such as, “Where are you from”, “What is your job”, “How old are you”, etc. because of the short bios people typically write on their dating profile homepage. In a way this allows dating apps to act like speed dating, because you can limit your pool of interests very quickly right off the bat.

However convenient online dating may be, there are some serious red flags that should be considered for your ethical and physical safety.

CON: The person you are communicating with may be different from what they present themselves to be on the Internet

According to Psychology Today, one in two people exaggerate or lie on their dating profile. Sometimes in every part of their bio, or other times they can lie about or exaggerate certain details. This could be as innocent as someone adding a few inches to their height, it could be a scammer from across the world tricking you and hoping to get your money, or it could be a pedophile hiding behind a catfish profile.

In my opinion, the most terrifying situation that crosses ethical boundaries on the web is catfishing. Urban Dictionary defines cat fishing as, “The phenomenon of internet predators that fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional/romantic relationships (over a long period of time)”.

The danger with cat fishing is also that the Internet sites or apps used for the modern dating culture are so fast-paced, that you will often meet somebody within a few days of talking to them. Since there is a hookup culture around current dating apps, some people might give away their address or go to someone else’s house flippantly, and unknowingly put themselves in danger.

You never know who is on the other side of someone’s screen, but there are some steps you can take to fight ignorance on the ethical issue that is apps and dating sites being unable to prevent or limit cat-fishers that may be preying on you.

  1. Run their photo through Google’s Reverse Image Switch
  2. Ask them to video chat or meet in a crowded, public place as soon as possible
  3. Block and report suspicious users
  4. Stay centered on apps/websites that allow “mutual friends” widgets, so that you can verify about this person with someone you actually know
  5. Do not let yourself become overly attached or dependent on someone online before you have met them in person
  6. Report all suspicious activity to your app’s customer service extension.
  7. Only use apps or websites that have screened all potential members.

These bullets above^ represent a very strong base knowledge on how to deal with catfishing. Another step you can be taking is bringing attention to how a deeper screening of dating app users could be beneficial to all apps at this time. It would be so beneficial to users for companies to filter out registered sex offenders or sexual predators.

This would cater to protecting the physical and emotional safety of users everywhere. It;s up to us to make a difference, so start raising awareness today!

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