Shreyas Kulkarni

To recognise and then combat, Bumble’s primer of tackling cyber abuse for women

The social networking app and Safecity have released a safety guide to tackling the sharp and uncontested rise of online harassment against women.

“83 per cent of women in India experience online harassment of some kind, 1 in 3 women experience it weekly,” says Bumble, the women-first social networking app.

While the world battles a pandemic, online bullying and harassment have transformed from a menace into a full-blown digital pandemic. Last year, the cyber abuse became more potent and horrific because online activity had increased manifold after several countries announced lockdowns to battle the Coronavirus - people were stuck inside their homes so they went online. 70 per cent of women believe cyberbullying increased since lockdown in 2020.

To create a safer, kinder and more respectful internet, Bumble is releasing a safety guide, in partnership with Safecity, Red Dot Foundation's flagship public safety platform, to empower women in India to identify, prevent and combat rising digital abuse. It is all part of its new ‘Stand for Safety’ initiative.

“The safety guide is aimed at equipping women to understand and recognise online harassment, suggestions on how to tackle difficult situations and resources available to prevent and combat digital abuse,” Priti Joshi, Bumble’s VP of Global Strategy & Operations at Bumble told us over email.

We were also curious to understand if this initiative extended to users who recognised themselves as queer on the platform. “Yes,” said Joshi and went on to say that the Bumble app is built to help our global community have a safe and healthy dating experience, the safety guide is another step towards achieving this for everyone on the platform. “We will continue to invest and innovate to ensure every single person on the platform feels safe and empowered to meet new people.”

We’ve seen online dating grow last year as face-to-face meetings dates were not possible. However, we wondered if online dating fatigue had crept into people’s minds. Said Joshi, “Single Indians feel the need to build trust before meeting in-person, which has given rise to ‘slow dating’ that means people are taking more time to get to know each other better.” She said people now go on pre-dates where they use video dates to get to know one another before meeting in-person.

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She told us Bumble had observed an increased usage and extended video chat times since lockdown began last year with people in our community “spending roughly 20 mins on average on Video Calls or Voice Chats on Bumble in India. This has led to more virtual communication before the relationship is taken offline. Our recent nationwide survey also revealed 40 per cent of single Indians want to opt for virtual dating in 2021.”