As I have discussed in my blogs this year, dating app facilitated sexualized violence is a new area of interest without much research or literature. As we exist more and more in a technological world, we need to be critical of both our own behaviour and the behaviour of others in all of the online spaces we occupy – including dating apps. As I have said before, although dating apps present a new avenue for sexualized violence to occur, dating apps are not all bad. Especially in this time of extreme isolation, they have provided many of us with much needed connection.
Hopefully 2021 is filled with considerably more human interaction than 2020. However, even if it is, dating apps aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. So every time we open a dating app, regardless of the reason (boredom, looking for love, or just our next hookup), let’s remember that we owe each other:
Honesty. It has been found by multiple sources that over 50% of people exaggerate or lie on their dating profiles. Don’t be one of these people. Be honest about your identity and your intentions.
Consent. Always practice consent. Don’t send unwanted messages or pictures – ever. Communicate with the person that you are chatting with/sexting with/sending nudes to and ensure that they are willing and consensual. Be clear and specific about your expectations for both giving and receiving. Communication needs to be active and remain open at every stage of sexual advancement whether online or offline.
Safety. Both dating app users and dating app platforms need to work towards a future where users feels safe. I discussed previously what we can be doing to keep ourselves safe, both generally and during coronavirus, as well as how dating app platforms can work towards improving our safety too.
As always, stay safe and be kind to each other online!