In the modern world of dating, meeting someone in real life can be a challenge.
Most of us live hectic lives. Trying to balance our work, fitness, and social schedules doesn't leave us much time to go out and meet people organically. Even if we do have the time, many of us aren't confident enough to walk up to a stranger in a bar and ask for their number.
So it's no surprise that the online dating industry is booming. Over 366 million people used online dating services and applications in 2022, and 2 in every 5 couples have met online. The number of single people looking to find potential matches is huge, and dating apps mean they are just a few clicks and swipes away.
But online dating has a darker side.
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 and 33% have experienced either harassment or abuse on such dates. According to a survey conducted by YouGov, approximately 1 in 3 adults in the UK who use apps or dating websites have been catfished at least once.
Additional safety measures in dating are now more vital than ever.
Brand new dating app Bonkers has come up with a solution.
What is Bonkers?
Bonkers launched in May 2023, and its mission is to put the fun back into dating and prioritise the safety of its users - both on and off the app.
We love that it's an inclusive dating app that welcomes the LGBTQIA+ community. Bonkers is the first UK app to welcome people of all sexual orientations, and it lets you search for both casual dating and serious relationships, whilst integrating personal safety technology into its user experience. Bonkers has teamed up with the personal safety app WalkSafe to provide users with better tools to feel safe whilst connecting with potential dates, both online and in person.
How does the Bonkers dating app work?
If you've been seeking a serious relationship and only finding people looking for hookups then you may understandably be experiencing dating app fatigue. Knowing someone's true intentions is one of the hardest things about online dating. With Bonkers, you can control your own experience by choosing which side of the app you want to use.
You can choose “Bonk” for casual fun and hookups, or “Bonkers” if you're looking for a meaningful relationship. Whichever you choose, it means your dating pool will be filled with like-minded people. No need to ask "So what are you looking for?" and hope you get an honest response. You know that people you're matched with are on the same page.
When you sign up for your Bonkers profile, you can select from dating tags. These include hobbies and interests like "romantic evenings" and "weekend breaks", or preferences such as "poly", "kinky" and "thrupple".
Why is Bonkers the UK's safest dating app?
Safety and security come first when you match on Bonkers. Their tagline is "connecting you while keeping users safe". It's refreshing to see an app put safety at the forefront of its mission.
All app users are verified and rated by others on the app. Bonkers doesn't allow screenshots and actively prevents catfishing by using facial recognition and embedded video chats. On the "Bonk" side, there are kink and fantasy filters.
The Bonkers app is also integrated with two of WalkSafe’s key safety features and has an SOS option. The "WalkSafe" feature allows you to type in your destination and share your route with selected friends. It includes an estimated time of arrival so your trusted circle know when you expect to arrive. The "HomeSafe" feature allows you to share your route and estimated time of arrival with friends and loved ones, and will automatically alert your trusted circle if you fail to arrive at your destination on time.
Is Bonkers a free dating app?
Bonkers is a paid subscription service but offers free membership for the first 7 days. The app offers the following subscriptions:
- Basic - Free 7 day trial
- Blue - £12.99 a month
- Pink - £14.99 a month
- Crystal - £24.99 a month
Top Tips for Safe Dating
Using dating apps is a great way to meet new people, but remember to protect yourself and stay safe while using them. Here are a few tips for using dating apps safely:
1. Protect your personal information
Don't share too much personal information (such as your social media accounts or home address) until you feel comfortable and trust the person you are communicating with.
2. Don't put yourself in any uncomfortable situations
Only make arrangements that you're comfortable with. Meet in a public place, or tell a friend where you are going and who you're meeting if you're feeling nervous about it. Remember, you can use the WalkSafe feature on the Bonkers app to share your location with friends.
3. On the first date, set a time limit
Make it clear you can only stay for one coffee/ drink (whatever you might be doing) and that you are expected somewhere afterwards - this takes the pressure off you having to stay for the whole evening and gives you an easy out if you need it.
4. Trust your instincts
If something feels off or uncomfortable, trust your instincts and end the conversation or date. If you're in a bar, you can approach staff and ask for Angela, this is a safety initiative that has been introduced in the nightlife industry in recent years to help people that are in potentially dangerous situations on dates.
5. Prioritise your sexual health
Dating and sex go hand in hand. Before you get intimate with someone, make sure you know the sexual health status of both you and your partner. Be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to your sexual health. You can buy home STI testing kits here.
6. Be honest and respectful
Make sure you are honest from the start about what you are looking for. Is it a long-term relationship, casual dating or just a hookup? Be respectful of your match - don’t put pressure on someone to leave the app or to send messages they may not feel comfortable with.
7. Take a video call prior to meeting your date
It’s important to get to know someone away from texting. A video call can help you see who you’re meeting as well as their tone of voice/personality.
8. Report suspicious behaviour
If you do find yourself on the receiving end of any inappropriate behaviour, report it to the dating app's customer service ASAP.
Do dating apps actually work?
Dating apps can be a great way to find romantic relationships, casual hookups, and sometimes even friendships. According to a recent survey conducted in the UK, around 53% of adults who have used dating apps or sites have found a long-term partner or a spouse through them. We think those odds are pretty good!
At iPlaySafe, we think its safety features make Bonkers the best dating app in the UK. Here's some advice on how to make your dating app profile stand out from our in-house dating expert, Hope Flynn.
When creating your dating app profile it can feel difficult not to sound egoistic or conceited so here’s some tips to make the process easier for you:
- Check out other peoples' profiles for inspiration on what to write
- Choose photos that show off your personality and smile! Your photos can tell someone about your hobbies. Are you into tennis? Add a photo of you playing, you may find it creates an initial connection with someone else who likes to play
- Be honest, never tell a lie on your profile
- Use positive tones throughout, no one wants to read anything that is negative
- Be specific about what you want, if you’re looking for a long term relationship then say it, and if you’re not - say that too!
- Have fun on your profile, most people want to find someone that can make them laugh, so be humorous if you can
- Update your profile regularly by keeping your photos up to date, or if you're travelling somewhere as that’s a great conversation starter
Bonkers is available on the Apple app store and on Google Play.