Dating Apps: A New Emerging Platform for Sexual Harassment? A Scoping Review

Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan, Denise Volman-Pampanel, Eugenia Opuda, Noam Tarshish

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Currently, dating apps are one of the most popular platforms for meeting romantic and sexual partners. However, little is known about the potential for sexual harassment on these platforms. In the current scoping review, we sought to examine what is known about sexual harassment facilitated through smartphone dating apps. We searched for studies that reported on sexual harassment via dating apps through PubMed, Web of Science, PsycInfo, Communication Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts, and IEEE Xplore databases. Twelve studies addressed the risk of sexual harassment on dating apps. We found that sexual harassment when using dating apps is prevalent and ranges between 57 and 88.8%, with two populations being at higher risk: women and individuals who identify as a sexual minority. In terms of forms of harassment, sexual harassment via dating apps can take place online (e.g., being sent unsolicited images, or “dick pics”) or offline (e.g., a face-to-face meeting that was arranged on a dating app). Experiencing sexual harassment on dating apps is associated with higher levels of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, loneliness, early childhood maltreatment, less perceived self-control, and lower self-esteem. Some studies suggest that experiencing sexual harassment on dating apps reflects social structures and appears differently in different groups (e.g., among sexual minorities). More research is needed to capture the prevalence of adult sexual harassment via the use of dating apps, the different forms of harassment, risk and protective factors, and social and cultural structures that facilitate this kind of sexual harassment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)752-763
Number of pages12
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
Volume25
Issue number1
Early online date10 Apr 2023
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.

Keywords

  • dating apps
  • scoping review
  • sexual harassment

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