Dating sites risky shortcut to romance

COLLETTE DEVLIN AND JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 16/08/2014
Warriena Tagpuno Wright
SUSPICIOUS DEATH: Warriena Tagpuno Wright fell from the balcony of a Surfers' Paradise high-rise apartment building.

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The death of Lower Hutt 26-year-old Warriena Tagpuno Wright in Surfers Paradise exemplifies the risks women put themselves at when meeting strangers.

Wright, 26, fell to her death from a Surfers Paradise high-rise apartment on August 8 while visiting a man she reportedly met on online dating site Tinder.

However, some dating experts believe the risk of such sites is no higher than meeting someone in a bar.

Wellington clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo says electronic media has a huge influence on relationships - the meeting, dating, cheating and breaking up.

Society today was about instant gratification, which included finding a partner.

Online dating sites, including Tinder, are romance on speed - a shortcut, she says.

People could message after the initial physical introduction and go on a date straight after that.

She warns people to be sensible - and aware of dangers.

"People using Tinder are bold and do not mess around. They move more quickly to the ‘hey babe, can I have your number' stage," she says.

Tinder is based on physical attraction, which could lead to different expectations. "When there is a clash in expectations, it can lead to trouble. If one person is naive and the other predatory, it can have a nasty outcome.

"People have to be super careful of this behaviour. Someone pressuring you is not good."

Wellington dating coach Angela Meyer believes Tinder is just another way to meet people and users have to be careful - just as they would in any other situation.

"The same rules apply and don't put yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe. Let people know if you are going on a date."

Tinder is not to blame if something happens to a woman, as it did to Wright, she says.

It is misogynists who are to blame, she says, and little is being done to address the issue.

People need to meet in real life to see if there is a spark.

It is safer to meet on Tinder than in a bar because people are not drunk and they have a digital footprint, she says.

However, Detective Senior Sergeant Darryl Sweeney, the police adult sexual assault team manager, says Canterbury police are receiving, anecdotally, about two complaints a month related to online dating or applications like Tinder.

Most were for sexual assaults that happened when a woman had got into a stranger's car or gone to their home.

"Ladies in their late 30s and 40s coming out of long-term relationships and looking to start another are going on to websites and taking big risks."

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In at least two cases, police had asked online dating websites to remove the profiles of potential offenders.

- The Dominion Post

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