‘Virtual coffee date’: How dating apps are booming amid coronavirus lockdown

Updated

April 03, 2020 15:23:49

Australians might be living under strict social-distancing laws, but that hasn’t stopped people turning to dating apps, which have noticed a bump in users.

Key points:

  • Crackdowns on social gatherings have caused a spike in dating app users
  • Dating websites and apps are discouraging meet-ups
  • Gery Karantzas says some users should consider giving dating a rest until the pandemic passes

Dating giant Tinder has more new conversations starting and those interactions are lasting longer.

Bumble is expecting video and voice calling to continue to grow as physical-distancing measures tighten to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Sexuality and digital cultures expert Kath Albury from Swinburne University of Technology said dating app developers had moved swiftly to diversify their offerings in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Moves to lift geo-location restrictions (previously only available to premium users) are an exciting development for many because apps like Tinder and Grindr can be demoralising because they show you just how few people are available in your area,” Professor Albury said.

Apps are also sending push notifications to remind users to wash their hands and obey “coronavirus-era etiquette”.

“They’re suggesting what you could do instead of meeting up; how to video date and whether you should dress up for such a date,” she said.

“Given everyone’s routines have slowed they’re even sending tips on how many messages are too many in a 24-hour period.”

Relationship scientist Gery Karantzas from Deakin University encouraged users to make the most of apps’ video calling features and avoid texting for too long.

“When it comes to computer-mediated communication, we know if communication goes on for too long it can backfire,” he said.

“If you don’t transition out of bantering and really get to know the other person you can get in a danger zone.”

He encouraged users to set up a virtual date.

“You need to arrange some type of meeting like a virtual coffee date to meet and get to know each other’s interests and goals.”

Dr Karantzas said if users were looking for a hook-up, they should consider putting dating apps down while the coronavirus pandemic played out.

“Why not give yourself permission to not engage with the quest for a while?” he said.

He urged users to reconsider finding a romantic partner purely to alleviate coronavirus-induced stress and anxiety.

“If you’re channelling your worries into finding a relationship that’s not a healthy place to start,” he said.

“Why not just take the time to forge the connections you already have.”

Topics:

relationships,

diseases-and-disorders,

health,

covid-19,

information-and-communication

First posted

April 03, 2020 05:10:33

 

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