Source: Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash
A rise in crime related to online dating is reaching alarming proportions with figures high as 2,054 offences in the past five years according to UK police.
Despite figures, young Londoners believe first and foremost to be their responsibility to keep themselves safe from online predators.
Amelia Le Brun, a former user of dating apps said: “if you’re using the apps you’re sort of aware of that risk and it’s up to you to speak to someone long enough before you exchange numbers and that sort of thing”
Online dating sites are the mediums in which people seeking to connect either romantically or sexually, or both, find a platform to reach out to other individuals without having to disclose much information about themselves.
Young Londoners have a general understanding of the risks attached to online dating, as there is no guarantee of the integrity of the person you are meeting.
Nick Jones, a Tinder user, said: “Tinder should not be held accountable for my actions. “If you use dating apps, use it smartly.”
Jones’ views represent one side of the argument, where people should take responsibility for their own actions.
On the other hand, victims of online dating related crimes, call out dating firms to do more to protect users from predators. For instance, “double-checking” user’s background and criminal record.
The National Police Chief’s Council said: “Firms have a social responsibility to prevent abuse on their platforms.”
Nevertheless, safety and welfare of those who take the leap in online dating, is a source of concern and calls for greater regulation.
Grindr’s spokesperson said: “Grindr is committed to creating a safe environment through a system of digital and human screening tools to help its users connect and thrive.”
According to Online Dating Association, a third of relationships start online with an overwhelming 10 million users in the UK alone. The agency has made available on its Twitter account, some preventive measures to its users.
— Online Dating Assoc (@ODAssociation) January 31, 2019
The online dating industry has undeniably grown, so did crime and violence with Tinder and Grindr being linked with rise in crime.
George Kidd, Chief Executive of the Online Dating Association who represents some online dating apps, said: “they are unable to do criminal record checks on users but do work with police and are committed to doing all they can to help keep people safe.”
The extent to which real measures have been put in place by dating companies to ensure their users’ safety is still debatable and raises questions on why more has not been done to tackle the issue.
The Match Group, responsible for Plenty of Fish said it ensures it users safety by checking, monitoring and removing individuals who act inappropriately.
Words and Graphics: Elza Lopes, Video Editor: Victoria Capaccio, Infographics: Martine Ryholt.