Popular LGBT+ dating apps have issued guidelines and advice to protect the wellbeing of their users amidst concerns over the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Authorities have strongly recommended a process of self-isolation in recent weeks, which has resulted in many people turning to online platforms as a means of maintaining social contact. Amid growing concerns over the coronavirus, LGBT+ dating apps released precaution guidelines so users can protect both their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around them.
On Thursday, Grindr issued the following alert to users, “As we learn more about coronavirus (COVID-19), we want Grindr users to have the best information so we can take care of ourselves and our communities.” The dating app reinforced health safety advice recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The alert further states, “Some members of our community might be under more stress than others for a variety of reasons. Take care of your mental health and be patient with those around you, both online and off.”
GBT+ dating app, Scruff, released the following statement along with a list of preventive measures, “Your wellbeing is important to us. The health and safety of the community is our priority.” With more than 15 million members worldwide, the platform has started a process of sending out helpful tips “in chunks of 100,000 until all users are alerted,” which should be completed by today.
Last week, Tinder added an advisory note that users see when swiping between profiles. It reads, “Tinder is a great place to meet new people. While we want you to continue to have fun, protecting yourself from the coronavirus is more important.”
GBT+ dating app, Hornet, sent out an alert calling for people to “maintain a social network, but remotely.” It adds: “Social contact helps us stay mentally healthy and fights boredom.”
Co-founder of Hornet, Sean Howell, told the Thomas Reuters Foundation, “We’ve shared a variety of news articles over the past few days inside the app in addition to sending messaging.”
Howell continued, “I suspect we will see increases in traffic just like we do in the winter months. Social and dating apps are often about meeting people (but) they’re also about having community and maintaining it online when we can’t do it in person.”
At 6pm on March 12, public facilities across Ireland went into a general shutdown. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has recommended that people work remotely from home and avoid prolonged contact with the public when possible. Dating apps are using their large user base to further inform the public about the spread of the virus.
To stop the spread of the virus, public health officials advise the public to do the following:
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or if not a tissue, use your sleeve
- Avoid contact with those already unwell
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