Mobile Apps Reinvent Online Dating, Still Have Some Security Issues

Aug 21, 2012 15:22:44Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

Mobile Apps Reinvent Online Dating, Still Have Some Security Issues

Online dating has become one of the more common ways for people to meet their significant other, and technological advancements have helped bring this internet-based dating option right to mobile phones. Apps for dating sites like OKCupid and eHarmony make it easy for members to check their messages and browse singles on the go, which is ideal for busy individuals who don't have much opportunity to sit in front of their home computer. According to The Washington Post, mobile dating apps have surpassed online websites in popularity, and are among the most popular smartphone apps.

"I don't think I would have started it on my own, and I'm in the software industry," Franklin Horn, 27, who tried three separate online dating mobile apps, told the news publication. "It's a hard thing to put yourself out there. Since I'm single and busy, I wanted to use it as a way to practice flirting and see the technology behind the apps."

Some services also offer location-based features that can help singles find potential matches when they're out on the town or chat with nearby members of the same site. While this can simplify the process of going from talking online to meeting matches in person, it also poses personal security risks and mobile privacy issues. Some apps allow users to check in at public places so others in the area can see where potential mates are, but this can expose one's location to all other users, not just those an individual would like to meet.

The Boston Globe recommends taking a few precautions when using mobile apps for dating. Read the fine print of an app's terms of service to ensure that you know exactly what the service entails. For apps that only show your location and other info to friends on the same site, make sure you only include people you know in real life or strangers may be able to know your whereabouts. The news source also highlights the importance of logging out of location-based apps when you're done using them. If you don't, the app may continue to broadcast your location, which could result in your personal address becoming public information.

Another step online daters can take is getting a second phone number. With an additional number, you can give out your information to potential matches without having to worry about people figuring out your new identity.