‘Worm’s Head’

CARDIFF, WALES. 12/02/2020. Caitlin Bolt, 20 sits dressed up in bed for an online date. Virtual dates have increased in popularity since the pandemic put the nation under lockdown.

Lonely Hearts: Being Single in a Pandemic and the Future of Virtual Dating
Levels of loneliness are at a reported record high in the UK, increasing significantly since March 2020, also leading to increased risk of depression and social anxiety. 53% of singles are reported to be lonely during the pandemic according to ONS with meeting people organically pretty much eliminated and social events illegal.
WebMD health experts recommend virtual dating as a safe way to engage and to reduce the risk of loneliness and other negative health factors.
Virtual dating was popular before the pandemic, but lockdown has made it the only way for singles to meet people. Dating apps have launched lockdown-friendly options; Tinder and Bumble have extended their location preferences so singles can meet across the world with Global mode. Tinder also added video chats and Bumble which already had video chat saw a 69% in its usage between the end of March and the beginning of May in 2020. Hinge has made a virtual date button so that users can display that they are open to a virtual date.
Benefits to online dating include a “screening process” which has a safety element, giving users the opportunity to speak with matches through video chat before taking the leap of meeting up in real life, as well as avoiding awkward first date encounters. It’s a great way to engage in socialisation with little other ways to chat with people. There are even friendship apps which function in the same way as dating apps but in order to make friends throughout lockdown.
There are obvious downsides to dating apps including the lack of physical affection, which is a proven serotonin booster and the lack of future certainty as the length of lockdown is undetermined.
Whether online dating is a sustainable way to build

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