Loading articles...

COVID-19 is changing the dating game

Last Updated Mar 27, 2020 at 7:50 pm MDT

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — More and more people are dating from the comfort of their own home as they follow the advice of health officials and stay indoors.

Several dating platforms have reported an increase of users going on virtual dates. 

Two people will match on a phone app, chat for a bit, and then join a video call to go on a date together.

Bumble user Jasmyn has been on some virtual dates recently. 

She told 660 NEWS video dating is a great alternative to traditional dates as it doesn’t appear those will be possible anytime soon.

“I was just getting back (into online dating), and then I had a couple of dates ready to go and then all of this stuff kind of happened,” Jasmyn said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

READ MORE: Vehicle restrictions now applied to Alberta parks and recreation areas

“It kind of changed the way we started to date and communicate with people,” She added.  “From my perspective, it’s been a lot of fun and it’s been great.”

Jasmyn said that a recent virtual date went extremely well and she got flowers delivered to her home for the first time in a long while.

She also mentioned that dating through video before meeting in-person felt safer and pressure-free.

“The scariest thing is anyone can take a photo, and then if you get excited for something and you meet for dinner and it doesn’t add up, well (meeting each other through video first) just erases all of that.”

In an email to 660 NEWS, Bumble said they have seen an increase in the average video call/phone call time of its users over the past week. It now sits at 14 minutes.

“Maybe this is the new norm,” said Jasmyn.

Bumble users in Canada with the word “quarantine” in their bio has increased by 19 times in the last week. 

READ MORE: Employee at Canada Post in Calgary tested positive for COVID-19

In the United States, it’s gone up by 16 times.

There has also been a 42 per cent spike over the past week of 18 to 22 years olds adopting the platform.

Hinge, another dating app, reported 70 per cent of its users have expressed interest in going on digital dates. 

“We’re encouraging our community to ‘date from home’ using phone calls and video chats to build connections,” Hinge said in a statement to 660 NEWS. 

“Hinge’s mission will always be to get people off the app and onto great dates, whether that’s in-person or digitally for the time being.”

Officials and mental health experts are urging people to practice social distancing when it comes to physical meetings but to use technology and stay connected in efforts to combat social isolation.

“The health and safety of our users is a top priority for Grindr. We are advising users to follow guidelines provided by the WHO and participate in social distancing as recommended by local authorities,” Grindr, an LGBT dating platform, wrote in an email.

“Physical isolation doesn’t have to mean social isolation. We are proud that Grindr remains an open platform for our community to safely connect and thrive.”

Tinder reported among the most popular terms in user bios in the past week has been, “stay home,” “social distancing,” and “wash your hands.”