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Dating Apps & relationships online

The rise in social media use has meant that the way we form relationships with people has changed hugely. Now more than ever, it is seen by many to be more acceptable and much easier to have casual sex or meet people through dating apps or 'hook up' apps.

tinderAlthough there are websites such as match.com which take the time to assess your interests and personality to match you with someone you can form a long lasting relationship with (and this has been widely successful for many people), there are other sites which work faster and base ‘matches’  more on your appearance or on finding casual sex partners.

There have been a lot of news stories which link the use of dating sites and apps like Tinder and Grindr to a rise in STIs and violent behaviour amongst app users. Although these risks are not too common, as with any form of online interactions, there are the risks of cyber bullying, threatening behaviour and ending up in a vulnerable or dangerous situation in the real world.  Most of the time, you can never truly know who you are really talking to through the screen of your computer or mobile!

Further information

Dating Apps can be a fun and convenient way to meet new people, create friendships, and chat to people online and to make the best of them, it is important to know how to stay safe and spot dangers.

www.getsafeonline.org/social-networking/online-dating/
www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/action/how-to-protect-yourself-on-dating-websites

If you experience threatening or upsetting behaviour on these apps, there are usually reporting facilities within the app. Bullying is often illegal, harassment is always illegal, and hate crimes of any kind are illegal. If you feel that the situation has gone as far as a physical or emotional danger to yourself or anyone else, you can contact Police Scotland or report with the True Vision website.

www.scotland.police.uk/contact-us/hate-crime-and-third-party-reporting/third-party-reporting-centres
www.report-it.org.uk/bullying_and_harassment

For young people you can seek support and advice from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre or from Childline:
www.childline.org.uk/pages/home.aspx
www.ceop.police.uk