VIJAYAWADA: Online social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, are passe, or so it seems if the youngsters of the city, especially the college-going students, are to be believed as they, as per their statements, are increasingly using dating apps to make new friends.
Madhumita (name changed), a second-year student of a private college in Vijayawada city says, “Usually we make friends through social media platforms. But when introduced to these dating apps ... I was curious and I found that all the junk (otherwise found in social media platforms) could be avoided and I could just talk to interesting people nearby. These apps are not just for dating, we can actually make good friends too. In our college, almost 60-70 percent of the students are using these apps. Not just in our college, but in many colleges this is quite common.”
Dating apps, reportedly have been more in use in metro cities, such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad etc. However, it appears, those are slowly making their way into smaller and emerging cities like Vijayawada and Guntur. Youngsters and students of Vijayawada are now using these apps more than they used to even a year ago.
However, there is a flip side. Not all is as rosy as Madhumita paints it to be. These apps could be and have actually been used as traps to cheat the unaware youngsters, who use it without the proper knowledge of using such apps. K Shasank, a second-year engineering student of a private college in the city is such a victim.
“I heard about these apps from my friends, who used those to meet people. So, I wanted to try it out to see what exactly comes out of those. But, I lost some money by falling in a trap, in which some users, who had their profiles in the dating apps, lured me with the promise of nude photos and steamy chats; but before I could actually get those they asked for money to be transferred to their e-wallets. Once I transferred the money they vanished without a trace. They even could not be reached on the number they shared. And the most unfortunate part is, victims like me cannot even approach the police,” Shasank said.
This new trend of youngsters using the dating apps in the city can do more harm than good, feels a city-based psychiatrist. “Students and youngsters should actually stay away from such apps,” said Sudha, who counsels people suffering from psychological problems.
“Dating culture is usually seen abroad but now for the last few years, it has spread to every corner of the country, including in the smaller cities. It is best advisable to stay away from meeting people via apps or other such tech-backed tools, as it becomes difficult to assess whether the people you so meet are genuine or not. Relationships established through such apps often are short-lived. There is also a need of proper awareness among those using these dating apps, as many are falling in traps and getting victimised,” she said.
Dating apps used in Vijayawada, Guntur Tinder, TrulyMadly, Woo etc Ready to pay According to sources, youths are even willing to pay for the apps The charges Tinder, the popular app, charges Rs 200 for six months for ‘add-on profile’ feature. Similarly, a few other apps also charge money for feature like ‘boosters’ and ‘add-ons’