The Urgent Conversation We Need to Have About Using Tinder Safely 

From social media to online dating, connecting with others online is more common than ever. But what happens when that connection goes horribly wrong? This isn’t just about swipe rights and romantic dinners; it’s a matter of safety. It’s crucial to discuss the pivotal role Tinder plays in instances of sexual assault and how users of online dating platforms can mitigate the risk and stay safe.

The Recurring Narrative in College Sexual Assault Cases Involving Tinder

I’ve traveled across the United States speaking to college campus groups about my own experience as a survivor of abuse. After each talk, a line often forms as students confide in me their personal experiences of sexual assault. The more college campuses I visited and women I spoke with, the more I began noticing a curious trend. These young ladies invariably began their harrowing stories with, “I met this guy on Tinder…”

The Allure of Tinder: Free Access but at What Cost?

From colleges in California to those on the Eastern seaboard, the narrative of sexual assault remains alarmingly similar, frequently involving Tinder. I began wondering: is there a problem with the app itself or is something larger going on? 

I found an important clue during a presentation I gave at Wesleyan Women’s College. Having heard story after story involving Tinder, I decided to ask one woman what made this online-dating app so popular. Her answer raised a red flag in my mind: Tinder does not require a credit card during signup. While this makes the app more accessible, particularly for young people, it seriously compromises accountability. Without safeguards and a paper trail, platforms like Tinder become a breeding ground for perpetrators, making the task of preventing and prosecuting sexual assault incredibly challenging. 

Preventing Sexual Assault and Using Tinder Safely

If you’re embarking on the journey of online dating, think critically about your platform of choice. Safety shouldn’t be a premium feature. For those committed to staying safe while using Tinder or other dating platforms, seek services that require some level of identity verification or a paper trail. Convenience is never worth compromising safety. 

And use the same additional cautions you would with any platform: 

  • Plan to meet in a public place. 
  • Inform friends or family where you will be. 
  • Check in periodically with a trusted friend or family member. 
  • Enable tracking on your mobile device. 
  • Check out your date’s other social media profiles. 
  • Above all, listen to your intuition and do not ignore red flags! 


And let’s be clear: if you’re a victim, it’s not your fault. The blame lies with the perpetrator and the platforms that enable such actions through unsafe practices. Safety when using online dating platforms like Tinder starts with addressing these systematic flaws head-on. Let’s change the recurring narrative when it comes to using Tinder by prioritizing safety over convenience in the digital dating age. 

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, contact the Sexual Assault Hotline.

Or call 800-656-4673

© 2023 Courage Starts with You by Sherrie Allsup