Digital Exclusive: New safety features to come on dating app

Digital Exclusive

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — According to gotherapy, 25 percent of female college students report experiencing rape or attempted rape. In more than 80 percent of the cases, the victim knew the assailant and almost 60 percent of the incidents occurred on a date.

While the methods in which you can meet that special someone have grown over the years, with cellphone apps like Tinder, Hinge, and Grindr, one thing remains constant.

“It is out there that there’s creepy guys that you meet,” King’s College senior Kathleen Mallon said.

“It’s kind of sad that we might need that, but it’s always good to be as safe as you can possibly be,” King’s College sophomore Megan O’Brien said.

Tinder is implementing new features that could help decrease the risk of rape or other violent acts on dates. One such feature, using a safety platform called Noonlight that users can enable in Tinder, is a panic button that, when pressed, alerts nearby authorities to a problem. Users can also use the app to manually enter their location and share it with friends. Students say they’re glad that such a feature will exist.

“You can always text people and tell them your location but it doesn’t secure that they’ll be able to be there and help you right away so the app with the button sounds really good,” King’s College sophomore Sage Shelly said.

People aren’t just afraid of sexual assault. Being catfished or someone misrepresenting them-self is another concern students have.

“You don’t always have to put a profile picture or you can use a different profile picture so then like kind of catfishing with that and drawing them in and doing what they please,” King’s College sophomore Samayah Coleman-Smith said.

“There could be predators out for male and females, you know what I mean. It could be both. Not just a double standard,” King’s College junior Isaiah Owens said.

Suzanne Beck, Chief Program Officer at the victim’s resource center, says you shouldn’t just rely on a safety button in an app. There are other things you can do to stay safe.

“Take a screenshot of your potential date and send that to a friend of yours so they know who you’re going to be with. And trust your own gut too. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t,” Beck said.

While Tinder appears to be the first dating app of its kind to use such a feature, it is unknown if other apps will follow.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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