The Perils Of Online Dating Apps

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Online dating sites and apps come riddled with many perils. Your private information being leaked is just one of them. There is little chance that you haven’t heard of dating apps.

If your circle of family and friends doesn’t include those who have flirted with Facebook, Truly Madly, OkCupid, you may have possibly come across their aggressive marketing campaigns. The Internet, newspapers, magazines, radio -no stone has been left unturned.

Recently, though, online dating has made the wrong kind of headline.

People now live in the fear of their credit card details, chat logs, photos and sexual fantasies being made public. Other platforms like Tinder claim its user base is growing by one per cent per day and though they don’t encourage extra-marital affairs, users of these apps have legitimate cause to worry.

With intimacy being a prerequisite for most communication here, users are fast catching on to a somewhat obvious truth -the Internet can be a terrible guardian of your best kept secrets. Sudden exposure, though, might still not be an adequate deterrent.

When single, it is comforting to hear that all one has to do is swipe right to find true love. We’ve heard the testimonials and have received the encouragement -`Get wooing to find your special someone!’ Sometimes that’s the only push you need. The temptation to surrender is strong, but before you do, here are seven perils you must wise up to.

Too random to matter :
Sahil 27, a user of  OkCupid and other such apps, confesses, “I don’t think companionship can be achieved through a series of swipes. Using algorithms to find `the one’ is an extremely reductive process. If anything, it has quickened the rate at which I lose interest.”

Websites and apps use different algorithms to match you and another user, but they never work with a sense of who you really are. More often than not, the permutations are random and repetitive. Sadly, the one-size model seldom fits all.

No private – public divide :
While some platforms give you the option to create your own profile, most apps procure information from social networking sites. Your dating profile then becomes a simple amalgam of your relationship status, job history, education and your profile pictures.

If you happen to be a private person, or if you don’t like to reveal everything about yourself from the start, your privacy is lost as easily as that needle in a haystack. Also, wasn’t romance all about deciphering the quiet mysteries of a possible lover?

Mistaken identity :
Facebook user, Muis, 25, recalls, “I started chatting with this girl. We exchanged numbers, but she would never want to talk. I called her once and something about her voice told me she was much older than she appeared to be in her pictures. Some conversations later, I found out she was using her daughter’s profile to attract younger men.”

Impostors know how to break the system, and you need to constantly guard yourself from those who are socially -and sometimes more dangerously -`fake’.

Someone’s side order :
Josh, 28, narrates a similar experience. “I exchanged numbers with a woman. She gave me the impression she was single, but then revealed she was married with a child. She started sending me lewd messages in the middle of the day when I was at work. She just wanted to hook up. I had to block her.” The worst and most naive assumption that one can make is that a user of those dating sites is single.

A number of users are married or in relationships. With hardly any verification, it becomes simpler for those in committed relationships to go on the prowl for a little fun on the side.

Let’s talk about sex :
A majority of women who have used dating apps tell you a common story. “It starts with `Hi. How are you?’, and before I know it, he is asking for `pictures that show cleavage’ or sending me inappropriate texts or inviting me over. Very rarely do boys want to hang out or get to know me.They just want to jump me,” some complain.

No exit policy :
Signing up for dating sites and apps may be really easy -you just need to connect your Facebook profile to the app on your phone and the app will do the rest -but if you’ve had enough, it’s not as easy to delete your account. The delete option is usually hidden in an innocuous corner and sometimes you can only delete your account from your desktop. Melanie, 24, says, “I thought I took my profile off all the apps. But my friends still come across my profile and photographs. I still don’t know what to do.”

Too close for comfort :
Different dating apps display profiles differently. Preferred age group and proximity are usually two parameters used. These specifications, though, are never enough for the app to rule out family, friends and exes. When your cousin’s profile surprisingly appears on your telephone screen, a careless swipe is a sure ticket to some awkward silences

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