One man changed dating forever when he created the first online dating website in 1994. No one uses this platform anymore, but they do still use the online dating site that came onto the scene just one year later: Match.com. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Of course you have — over 15 million lovesick singles use it every month.
While dating apps offer unparalleled convenience and opened up the number of fish in people’s seas, there wasn’t much to them in the mid-1990s. But a lot has changed since then. Today, there is a dating app for anyone. Heterosexuals. The LGBTQ+ community. Farmers. Christians. Atheists. Sci-fi fans. Vegans. I mean everyone.
And this inclusivity is something to celebrate. As online dating platforms evolve, no one is left out of the pursuit of finding love. But this also means that online dating apps have become more complex than ever before. In many cases, users are left to their own devices to figure out how to best utilize these platforms to their advantage.
But this is dangerous. Do users know how to protect themselves against potential scam risks and threats? Do they know how to navigate the oversaturated market to choose the platform that will give them the best shot at dating success?
Below are some of the ways that users can get the most out of the apps they use, not only to keep themselves safe but to better connect with their matches.
Safety first, always
The most successful online daters approach their experience with an open mind and a casual eagerness. In short, they don’t take themselves too seriously. But with that said, you should still keep some sort of guard up; you are interacting with strangers, after all.
In light of some of the terrifying stories of matches-gone-wrong, it’s up to users to protect themselves from everything from romance scams to emotional manipulation to physical malice. It’s critical to heed every match with caution, no matter how perfect things seem; you never know who you might be talking to initially. But this responsibility shouldn’t solely rest on your shoulders. Dating apps should also have your back.
As you consider what dating apps to sign up for, you should look to the platforms that are transparent and upfront about their security features. Tinder, for example, just recently added new features to their existing safety protocols, including an offensive messages feature, a panic button, and photo verification. These can be found in a new section of their app, called the Safety Center, which also gives users the ability to enter the dates, times, and locations of their planned dates that they can share with their friends.
Grindr has also taken steps to tighten up their security features. This not only protects singles in the United States, but it’s more so intended for users in other countries, such as Egypt, Lebanon, and Iran, where LGBTQ+ communities are at high-risk of being assaulted not just by citizens, but by authorities as well. In response to these threats, some of Grindr’s features include app-cloaking, geolocation tracking, and time messages that delete after a certain period of time so nothing can be used against these individuals in court.
Protecting yourself online can sometimes be the difference between life and death. Only sign up for dating apps that put your security first. And for added safety, third-party platforms that share information about online users, such as MyLife.com, can help you verify the identities of your matches and can help you determine if that person has a criminal background or any other pertinent information that can be used to better protect yourself against becoming a victim of fraud or abuse.
Your virtual matchmakers
Dating can be hard. On the surface, it would seem that online dating apps eliminate the difficulties of dating, but this isn’t entirely true. These apps make finding potential matches a little easier, but it’s still up to users to initiate conversations, keep the spark alive, and then go out on dates to decide whether or not they’re interested in taking things to the next level.
With all of this innovation, you think these apps would be able to help their users out a bit, right? Well, now some actually are. Certain online dating sites like eHarmony have begun using artificial intelligence to better connect singles on their apps. This technology is cleverly being referred to as the Artificially Intelligent Matchmaker, or AIMM.
AIMM takes all of the information you provide about yourself and uses that to send you profiles that would more accurately meet your preferences. This is why a majority of dating apps have begun asking new users more questions about themselves than in the past. While it may be time-consuming to answer all of these questions, the more information you provide, the better your matches will be.
Additionally, these dating apps also give advice on a variety of topics, like how users can create more personalized profiles and how they can initiate more creative conversations. Dating platforms that take the time to implement new tools and resources to ensure you have the best shot at success on their apps are the ones worth signing up for.
Your soulmate could be out there waiting for you on one of these online dating sites. Don’t settle. It’s time to raise your online dating standards.