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Tinder! Swiping Left or Right?

Tinder

Single Women all over the globe were rejoicing when Tinder launched in 2012. Founded by Sean Rad , Justin Mateen and Jonathan Badeen in the United States. This app seems to have empowered single women, like myself, when it comes to online dating.

The app functions on the two main premises of two people liking each other, they spot each other across a crowded room, make eye contact and smile, or are introduced by mutual friends.

Tinder functions the same way. You do the tinder download normal steps (available for Android and iOS) for free. Then you connect it to your Facebook profile (they promise not to post anything on your behalf to Facebook and that your information are completely secure but I will get to that later). Now you are on tinder, you can select as much as six photos from your albums on Facebook, write a bio with a maximum of 500 characters and it automatically posts your first name and your age (derived from your date of birth on Facebook) and BOOM; you are ready to be connected with other people.

Once you are up and running, you can choose the gender you are interested in (women-men), the age range (18 to 55+) and the search diameter (in miles or kilometers). The app will begin showing pictures of people in your area or people you have mutual Facebook friends with or just people in the same age criteria you chose. You will see the photos, the bio and the age of the person and you have two choices, either to swipe right (means you like the person) or swipe left (means you are not interested and that profile will never appear on your feed again so tread carefully). If you have swiped right and the other person swiped right on your profile as well, congratulations, you have just gotten yourself your first Tinder match. Now you can move to messaging that person and get to know them or decide on contacting outside of Tinder.

I was quite thrilled; Tinder seems to have provided the ultimate online dating empowerment tool. I didn’t have to feel rejected, because the guy I swiped right for doesn’t really know I put myself out there and chose to “like” him. It also provided me to choose wisely because for all I know, 100 guys have swiped right on my profile (serious ego issues, I know) but I only get to talk to a guy I really liked (no blind date surprises there).

Since I wrote in my bio about my interests in writing and apps and technology, the conversations seemed great. Guys were trying to get to know what I really was about so it was easier for me to ignore the initial “shallow” feelings I had about merely swiping left and right based on appearances and not about what the man is really all about.

Of course, as with all online dating websites and online dating apps, such as Tickr and Happn (that is another story I will get back to you on), you can sometimes get the occasional potential stalker or the old high school classmate who was weird and off-putting then and still is now.

In truth, I saw all kinds of people, I made conversations with all kinds of people. Did I hit it off with someone? NO. Here is why: first of all, the shallow aspect of swiping left and right made the app seem, for most men, a chance for an occasional hookup without the fuss of scammers trolling other personal ad sites like Craigslist and whatnot. Secondly, despite connecting to Facebook, it was apparently quite easy for a guy to make up a fake Facebook profile and link it to Tinder, the cute 30 something year old entrepreneur could actually be a 60-year-old guy or a 13-year old using a fake profile to connect to Tinder. Thirdly, I was actually contacted by male prostitutes and female prostitutes using Tinder to promote their “special services” for a fee. Will you eventually meet your “one” on Tinder? I think not but if you are bored and looking for some interesting, at time exhilarating, shallow connections with your privacy guaranteed, Tinder did help with several insomniac nights I had. Now, Let’s discuss the app itself. I own a Nexus 5 so naturally I opted for Tinder android download, and while my phone has a strong battery, Tinder seems to drain it sooner than normal. Not a good thing for a busy editor who is always on her phone. The app sometimes needs to be restarted to update messages and “moments,” which are pictures you can upload to be visible to your connections for a limited number of hours.

Security wise, my fear is younger girls talking to older men and being lured. At my job as NoBullying’s Editor I always have my sexual predator and child predator alert on. If you, as a parent, can educate your children about online dating scams and the importance of not sharing their personal information to just about anyone, then Tinder should come at the top of your discussion points with them on cyber safety. I was quite surprised by this disclaimer on Tinder’s website which says “Although our Service is a general audience Service, we restrict the use of our service to individuals age 13 and above. We do not knowingly collect, maintain, or use personal information from children under the age of 13.” I personally find 13 to be too young for someone to be dabbling with Online Dating.

My biggest surprise was this experiment I did with a friend of mine: I deleted my account on Tinder and then used her Tinder account to see if my account is still visible. To my surprise, not only was it visible, it wasn’t the account I literally designed and chose on Tinder. It had my current Facebook profile page and my most recent uploaded photos (none I had originally put on Tinder) and it also listed my hometown and city on my bio. If that is not a security breach I don’t really know what is. I went on to Facebook App Page and revoked Tinder’s authorization. I emailed their support team and I am still to hear from them.

In conclusion, as a single almost 30-year-old woman, who am I to tell you how to meet guys? As an editor working for a movement calling to end bullying and raise more awareness on cyber safety and security for teens, I am not saying don’t go on Tinder; I am just saying, as with everything else online, be careful. Be vigilant and just don’t share your personal information and if you have a teen using Tinder, if they are about to meet one of their Tinder matches in person, it wouldn’t hurt if they take a friend, or you watching from a far. Who said parents can’t support online dating? I know I do, I also do support safety; safety trumps cool and relaxed in my book.

As for other online dating websites and online dating apps, stay tuned; I plan to review them all for you.

Author: Radwa Rashad, Online Editor of NoBullying.com, has been working on cyber safety, bullying awareness and women rights since receiving her BSc in English and Women Studies. An Editor and Writer by profession. She is passionate about all things tech and all things human. You can reach her for by commenting below. She always replies!

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