Dark Side Of Dating Apps: Dating App Harassment, Online Dating Predators, Sexual Violence, Online Dating Sexual Abuse & Rape

Nearly all dating apps position themselves as great ways to meet people: the tout percentage of couples who met on apps, cost of going out vs using apps, ability to expand reach beyond your social circles, routine and immediate area. These are all true, but there is a dark side to apps that companies ignore.

Online abuse, harassment, manipulation are rampant on dating apps. Dating apps are a popular venue for predators as they draw vulnerable people (lonely, divorced, widowed, depressed) and can build trust rather easily and quickly, all without meeting in person.

Nearly half of all online dating users have reported some form of unwanted behaviors and that number is likely to be underreported and women and LGB are more likely to experience these behaviors by a significant amount. The four behaviors tracked in this survey are:

-sexually explicit messages

-continued contact after rejection

-being called an offensive name

-being threatened with physical harm

Is Online Dating Dangerous? (Men vs Women, Young vs Older Demographics); Dating App Safety Statistics

Those who are older or trying out dating apps for the first time tend to be targeted more often for scams. In the survey below, you can see that perceived safety goes down with age: https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2023/02/02/key-findings-about-online-dating-in-the-u-s/ft_2023-02-02_key-findings-online-dating_09/

Many people believe that companies perform some sort of background checks or aggressively monitor poor behavior, and that is not the case. There are many reasons for this:

-companies don’t provide enough warnings to tell users not to move off the app for communication

-companies don’t make it clear that they don’t perform background checks or that criminals exist on the platforms

-companies don’t always actively remove people after one or more complaints

-companies don’t alert folks that users can create new profiles after being banned from apps

Online Dating Advice For Women

Screening Profiles, Why Don't Guys Reply, Low-Effort Messages, Overwhelmed w/ Matches, Signs He's Not Into You, What Your Dating Photos Signal, Coffee Dates, Lying About Age, 'No Hook-ups' In Profile & More

Online Dating Predators, Verbal Abuse On Dating Sites – Are Dating Apps Dangerous?

Harassment and abuse can happen on and off the apps, in person or via video calls. It’s important to understand the risks and be prepared to report users immediately. In many cases, people do not report users to the apps because:

-users pre-emptively block them or report them (revenge reporting)

-users move off the apps (make it harder to track them)

-users don’t feel companies will do anything

-users are scared that the predators will know they have been reported

-users feel ashamed or don’t wish to make instances public


Online Dating Rape Statistics, Dating App Rape Stats; Dating Apps And Sexual Assault

In Valentine’s study, a Brigham Young University nursing team analyzed the charts of sexual assault victims over a three-year span (2017-2020) and found that 14% of the rapes committed by acquaintances “occurred during an initial meetup arranged through a dating app.” –Time

People tend to feel a stronger sense of connection and trust on dating apps because of the amount of information they have available in a dating profile or because people tend to experience serious loneliness on apps than they might otherwise in person. 


Online Dating Stalking: Bumble Stalking, Stalking On Dating Apps, Cyberstalking

Thanks to dating apps, stalking is becoming more and more common. Dating apps contain obvious information like age, city, and employer information but some apps contain even more details about one’s life: job title, neighborhood and where a person hangs out (through Instagram account syncing).

Just because an app asks for information doesn’t mean you need to provide it (although if you leave information blank, you will likely get fewer likes, matches and be viewed as a scammer, liar or creepy person). Instead of listing employer and title, you can list your function and industry. Assume people will look you up on Linkedin to verify age, location, employment etc.

Don’t make your social media profiles public. Do searches on yourself to see what information is public (i.e. address, phone numbers, exes etc).

More safety tips below.


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Final Thoughts – Dating App Controversy, Online Dating Warning Signs

Dating apps are merely another way to meet people. There are pros and cons of using online dating in your life but it’s important to understand limitations and dangers of the apps. Many people who use dating apps for all or even most of their dating efforts tend to have few to no friends and that makes it harder to seek advice, understand what is and is not acceptable behavior.

If you are lonely, depressed, recently widowed/divorced, please read up on safety tips. Never rely on dating apps for all or most of your dating efforts. Take your time to get to know people and understand manipulation tactics used by these predators.


Online Dating Safety Tips, How To Stay Safe On Dating Apps

Read this: https://eddie-hernandez.com/online-dating-safety-tips-dating-app-dangers/


National Sexual Assault Hotline: Confidential 24/7 Support



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About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie is a dating coach for men & women in San Francisco (clients in NYC, LA, Chicago, & beyond ), as seen in the NYT & Bumble). He helps w/ profiles, photos, wardrobe, messaging, date ideas, red flags, lifestyle choices, hobbies, grooming/hygiene, communication, social skills & offline efforts.