Tinder Releases Safe Dating Guide for College Students

The popular dating app sees the highest number of new 18-year-old members between the months of August and September, when freshman orientations are underway.

Tinder Releases Safe Dating Guide for College Students

Photo: gesrey, Adobe Stock

Dating in 2023 looks a lot different than it did nearly 30 years ago when the first online dating website was launched. Since then, countless dating websites and dating apps have been created, many of which match people based on specific interests such as animals, fitness, or sobriety. Name an interest or a partner preference and there is likely an app for it as it is estimated there are over 2,500 dating sites and apps operating in the U.S.

According to Pew Research Center, 30% of Americans have used a dating site or app, and online dating is most common among younger adults. About half of people under the age of 30 (53%) report having ever used a dating site or app.

One of the most popular dating apps is Tinder. The app, founded in 2012, has been downloaded over 530 million times with 75 million monthly active users and 9.6 million subscribers as of 2021, according to Business of Apps. In July 2023, the app was downloaded six million times.

Tinder largely matches people based on location. The user sets a mileage range and other users that are located within that range (and meet other parameters set by each user, such as gender and age) appear. With U.S. college campuses enrolling millions of students who fall into the age range of the people most likely to use the app, there are bound to be many matches throughout any given school year. According to Tinder, the app sees the highest number of new 18-year-old members between the months of August and September, when freshman orientations are underway.

Unfortunately, dating violence is also common among teens and college-aged students. According to the Department of Justice, women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence of any other demographic. More specifically, a study from LoveIsrespect.org found a significant number of college-aged women are victims of dating violence and abuse.

According to the study:

  • 43% of dating college women reported experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors, including physical, sexual, digital, verbal, or other controlling abuse
  • Nearly 1 in 3 (29%) college women said they have been in an abusive dating relationship
  • 49% of college students who reported abuse said it occurred while in college (57% for both men and women)
  • 52% of college women reported knowing a friend who’s experienced violent and abusive dating behaviors

To prevent dating violence and the other potential dangers that come with online dating, Tinder released its “Campus Crush” Dating Guide to help college students safely navigate dating. Here are eight tips from the guide:

  1. Dating starts with you: Make sure you’re 100% ready to put yourself out there, emotionally and mentally. Knowing your self-worth and building up your confidence to meet new people will help you to put your most authentic self forward, says Tinder.
  2. Safety is built into the matching process: The great thing about Tinder, says the company, is that it’s based on mutual consent. Both daters must “like” each other in order to match and start a conversation. Make sure you have a thorough look at their profile before sending a like.
  3. Look for green flags (positive traits): The most important is a complete profile (at least four photos, a bio, interests, age, and location), says Tinder. Only matching with Photo Verified members offers more confidence that the person you match with actually looks like their photos.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the safety features on the app: There are many features available on Tinder to give an extra sense of comfort while on the app, including video chats before meetups; Incognito Mode, which only shows your profile to people you’ve already liked; and Block Contact or Block Profile, which allows users to block profiles even before matching.
  5. Let someone know about your meetups: Share where, when, and who you’re meeting in real life using Tinder’s Noonlight integration. If a user is ever feeling uneasy or is in need of help, they can use Noonlight to discreetly trigger emergency services.
  6. Don’t rush into anything: If someone is pressuring you to meet up quickly or switch to another messaging platform, that’s a red flag, Tinder says. Scammers will attempt to get you onto another platform quickly — stay on the app when getting to know a new connection.
  7. Know when to unmatch with and report someone: If you feel uneasy during your chats or a video call, you can unmatch. If a match uses language that makes you feel uncomfortable, be sure to report them — you’ll be helping someone else avoid a potentially harmful situation and doing your part to help keep the community safe.
  8. Know what you’re looking for: Be upfront with your intentions with ‘Relationship Goals,’ a Tinder feature that helps matches start conversations on the same page — whether you’re looking for a fling, a friend, or something more serious. There’s also an option if you’re “still figuring it out.” You don’t have to know your goals right now, but the more upfront you are on your profile will reduce the possibility of sending mixed signals, the company says.

The guide also offers tips on creating a profile and dating trends to look out for, as well as current dating lingo. Click here to download the full guide.

If you or someone you know is a victim of dating violence, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or check out their website at www.thehotline.org.

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About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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