As more people are trying to seek for “the other half” with less effort, the present and usage of dating apps have been growing rapidly.
Similar applications sharing identical functions such as Tinder, Happn and Skout, can be easily found in this fast- growing market. Serving as a matching platform, registered users will be asked to enter personal information in their accounts like name, birthday, education level and most importantly, photos. Users will be presented an array of profiles of other users. They then have to choose either a ‘tick’ to show interest, or a ‘cross’ to show rebuff. Two individuals would be matched only when both of them are interested in each other. While most of these apps are free of charge and are very user-friendly, matched individuals will then start chatting in the app.
According to a survey done by Lunch Actually, over 50% of the respondents have prior experience in using dating apps. It shows that dating apps are indeed very popular among Hongkongers . Nearly 60% of those users have been continuously these apps for the past three months. However, only around 25% of those users claimed that they are able to find a successful match. These figures show that a part of Hongkongers indeed rely on dating apps to find their partners. Although these apps provide a very convenient way to meet and greet others, it is still very hard for people to actually find their true love.
Conceivably, singles would be the majority users engaging in these dating apps. However, the statistic shown is far exceeded our expectations. According to Tinder Statistics, only 54% of their users are single. There are indeed, a few factors that contribute to the increase of common users and motivate newcomers in using the dating apps. First, as mentioned, people are trying to a suitable date with the help of the apps – love, in short. Second, some of them are seeking for hookups, relationships that are purely based on sexual intimacy without any attachment and responsibility. Terms like one-night stand, finding sex partners can often be found throughout the conversations. Third, some may see dating app as a platform to find someone to chat with. As users can easily see the profiles of others, it makes kicking off a conversation much easier. Especially when the users are chatting in a virtual world, they do need to worry about anything. Forth, some users might be able to find self-validation through using these apps. When there is a successful match, people might think that they are attractive enough so that they are able to get a ‘tick’. In this way, one’s self-esteem and confidence could be strengthen.
Given that dating apps provide so many advantages to users, potential risks and threats can still be carried. First of all, the concern of privacy. Since users have to submit their personal information to the app in order to register an account. Information uploaded will then be opened to everyone, making them much more vulnerable to be under the risk of being stolen. Submitting personal information can be a dangerous act, especially when you did not read the terms and conditions carefully. There as been numerous news reports stating that users of these apps were involved in some scams which caused monetary loss. As neither the apps or the users have ways to valid the authenticity and identity of the users. Dating apps can easily become a perfect platform for hustlers to deceive others. Moreover, dating someone you have not met to somewhere can be a risky and unsafe setting, where unwanted sexual contacts and assaults might be encountered during dates.
It is not uncommon to see couples who started out dating from these apps, yet, with shallowed and limited understanding of one other. Many of the relationships blossomed will come to an end shortly. Couples going through such hardship can be highly identifiable under certain circumstances. Those individuals are more likely to change their partners frequently, and with couples met on the dating apps being less likely to share the same social circle, individuals might be found to be on different dates or seeing different people constantly.
According to Lunch Actually, these dating apps are very popular among the age group of 20-34, which are adolescents and young adults. There are a lot of ways to promote sexual health to these groups.
For individuals, developers of those dating apps can put warnings within the apps like what’s on cigarettes packaging. Mentioning about the possible consequences of having venereal diseases and casual sex might increase the chance of having these diseases. This act can probably encourage users to think twice before doing something unthoughtful. For school, university can actively hold workshops or talks about sexual health or even make it mandatory. With university students being one of the major users on dating apps, it is very important for universities to inculcate the correct message to them. We are not stating that schools should ban students from using these dating apps as studying in universities is all about freedom and autonomy. Instead of discouraging students to use these dating apps, schools should let students to think and reflect by holding forums to let them discuss. Lastly, the government can do a lot better by pushing sex education much more harder to the general public. The inefficient amount of educational advertisements create an image of which the government is trying to avoid the bees and the birds talk as this might be sensitive to someone and might not suit everyone’s thoughts. The government can simply put up more advertisements on televisions, newspapers and also make television programs about real cases of people using these dating apps. To achieve even more, the government can reform the education curriculum to add sex education a subject in primary and secondary schools in order to make sure students are aware of and have knowledge about this kind of issue.
It is undeniable that dating apps definitely provide a more convenient way for people to meet new friends and potentially find their ‘other half’. However, using these dating apps at the same time also carry a lot of potential risks that might be detrimental to one’s personal safety, privacy and sexual health. With that being said, it is very crucial that people have to use these dating apps with extra attention and be aware of those negative consequences these apps could bring.