In order to create a safer dating space online, dating app Bonkers has coined the ‘four pillars of safety’ for online dating to create guidance for users to protect themselves while dating online. The four pillars include financial, sexual, mental and physical safety to ensure that users have guidance from all areas. Below are detailed ways users can protect themselves online.
According to research commissioned by the BBC for its documentary, 'Dating's Dangerous Secrets,' 37% of dating app users have reported someone for inappropriate behaviour, 63% have felt uncomfortable on a date initiated via a dating app. Walksafe is a personal safety tracker built into the Bonkers dating app, this allows users to track their journeys on the way to and from dates, allowing their trusted circle of friends to know their whereabouts, and if needed send an SOS alert.
This idea came out of the continual negative experiences of online dating - whether that be how users were treated on the app, to behaviour on dates themselves this is backed up by the research that shows 63% of dating app users have felt uncomfortable on a date.
Mental health is one of the most talked about topics in today's society - especially in dating. Whether you have gone through a traumatic experience on a dating app, or experienced a bad breakup it is important to take the appropriate steps to protect yourself from damaging your own mental health - if you can’t love yourself, how can you love someone else? Bonkers is currently is the process of collaborating with a mental health charity to raise awareness to the mental health issues that can be caused by online dating.
The two best ways to manage your mental health is to manage your expectations and avoid personalising rejection. Not every person you meet is your life partner - the fairytale of love at first sight and riding off into the sunset, while not impossible, is rare. It is important to take time to get to know someone and see how you gel. By getting to know people while keeping your options open you’ll avoid disappointment further down the road.
Rejection is something everybody faces at some point or another, whether it's academic success or in the workplace it's something we usually all experience. In the same wayb with losing out marks in school or being rejected after a job interview, these things are out of our control - despite our best efforts. The same attitude should be taken towards dating - sometimes these things just don’t work out and we should learn to accept it out of our control.
Being sexually safe is something we need to focus on. And with latest research showing that STIs such as Syphilis and Gonorrhoea have risen substantially, there seems no better time to bring attention to the importance of sexual safety. At present iPlaySafe is paving the way for creating easy to access STI testing and allowing users to share their results with any potential partners through an integrated app. In order to bring this sex safety awareness to the attention of online daters, iPlaySafe has collaborated with Bonkers and will soon have their technology available on Bonkers app allowing users to share their STI status with users, protecting users and creating a conversation about sexual health and safety.
With the unfortunate rise of romance fraud, there seems no better time to draw attention to the risks associated. Romance scams involve people being duped into sending money to criminals who go to great lengths to gain their trust and convince them that they are in a genuine relationship, using language and tactics to manipulate and exploit others to grant their requests for money.
According to Lloyds Banking Group, those 65-74 were most likely to be tricked into sending money to a fraudster posing as a romantic partner, the average amount lost by this group was £12,000.
Similar to being catfished, the danger with financial fraud is the potential for victims to lose their savings, pensions and even being left struggling for money. Bonkers is currently in the process of collaborating with a financial service to ensure that more people don’t fall victim and experience the stress that can be caused by financial scams.