During the first-ever COVID Valentine’s Day, romantic hopefuls of every age are switching their sights from real-time cuddles to emojis and online PDAs. Whether you’re looking for a Zoom date or a socially-distant connection, know that there are still risks out there. This brings us to HighSpeedInternet’s report on the safest and most dangerous states for online dating in 2021.
Why the worry? For younger people, there are a number of dating/hookup apps that can land kids in dangerous territory. Even certain chat apps can bring kids in close contact with strangers, porn, and sex workers.
But don’t count out adults. The FBI has long warned that dating apps attract catfishers looking to spark up phony romances in hopes of a payout. Health experts have also blamed the ease and relative anonymity of online dating apps for a resurgence of STDs. As more people go online for socially-distanced first dates, you may have to be extra cautious depending on where you live.
Online Dating Is Trending in 2021
The pandemic has brought with it intense physical and emotional isolation. Now more than ever, people are looking to connect with each other.
“People are relying more on dating and video apps to spend time with their loved ones,” said Samantha Moss, editor and content ambassador at Romantific. “Though it may be awkward or lonely, they still find different ways to make spending their time talking virtually to be a fun and memorable one. Playing games, watching movies or eating meals together while on the phone are the trends happening in the online dating world.”
Most Dangerous? Alaska
According to the report, Alaska ranks as the most dangerous state for online dating—a position it’s now held for four years in a row. The Land of the Midnight Sun has one of the country’s smallest populations, but rates for syphilis across the state are the highest they’ve ever been. Alaskans have also been especially vulnerable to online fraud, which includes “romance scams” in which victims are targeted on dating apps.
Likewise, the West Coast is more dangerous than the East. The Southwestern states of Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico made the list of the top ten most dangerous states. The safest state for online dating is Maine, followed by West Virginia and Vermont.
Top 10 Safest States for Online Dating
- West Virginia
- New Hampshire
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
Top 10 Most Dangerous States for Online Dating
- New Mexico
To come up with their list, HighSpeedInternet’s team of researchers ranked states based on FBI statistics about cybercrime victims and total funds lost to digital fraudsters. They also analyzed data about STD cases in each state from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States with the highest rates of cybercrime and STD cases were ranked worse than those with the lowest.
Zoom Dates Can Keep You Safe
Dating apps have provided the perfect segue to finding love in the time of COVID.
“Since restaurants, bars, and clubs are closed, it is more difficult to meet people to mingle and of course impossible to go out on regular dates,” said Peter Jordan, Editor of Help With Online Dating. “Online dating apps are one of the few avenues left for people to meet.”
During this time, Zoom, Skype, Google Chat and other third-party providers (where you don’t give out your actual phone number) are the new normal — even with dating. In fact, there are a number of benefits to dating via video call. Rather than jumping into an expensive evening out, potential couples are now relying on the art of conversation, and learning more about each other in the process. These conversations help people determine whether or not the person they’re chatting with is worth an in-person conversation.
Ironically, interacting through screens can actually help you get to know potential suitors on a deeper level, and in pajama pants. Just be sure to swipe left if your suitor is from Anchorage.