NortonLifeLock Inc., a global leader in consumer Cyber Safety, recently unveiled the results of its second edition of the India Digital Wellness Report, an online survey of over 1,500 Indian adults, which explores the increased popularity of online dating apps across user segments and how the affordability of data has made the smartphone the primary device of entertainment. The report found that 40% of the respondents were comfortable with sharing personal details on dating apps without even meeting the person. Interestingly, 66% of the women and 63% of the Gen X respondents felt that the people they meet online are trustworthy.
The findings of the report suggest that Indian men and women are becoming progressively open-minded about the concept of online dating, with four in every ten respondents using online dating in their quest for a serious relationship. Almost 55% of the respondents in metro cities used online dating apps to look for a serious relationship, whereas 68% of the respondents in Tier-1 cities and 21% of the respondents in Tier-2 cities cited casual dating and physical intimacy, respectively, as the top reason for using online dating apps.
Furthermore, it emerged that while 65% of Gen Z respondents used online dating apps for casual dating, 63% of Gen X respondents were looking for a serious relationship and 72% of the millennial respondents used the apps to look for friendship or companionship. The report also revealed that a significant number of respondents (49%) did not use dating apps as it did not fit their style, or that they shied away from it as they had heard negative stories around the concept (27%).
â€śThe increasing affordability of smartphones and data is enabling us to complement many aspects of our real life online. Indian men and women are becoming progressively open-minded about the concept of online dating,â€ť said Ritesh Chopra, Director, NortonLifeLock, India. â€śHowever, it is important for consumers to be mindful of their digital footprint, as it is easy for cyber criminals to deceive users by creating fake identities and misusing the personal data that is shared on online platforms. It has always been our endeavour to educate consumers of the threats that exist and how they can protect their online identities in the complex digital world.â€ť
Entertainment and anxiety go hand-in-hand with smartphones
Owing to the accessibility and affordability of mobile data, smartphones have become the primary source of entertainment in Tier-1 cities. Almost 91% of the respondents in Tier-1 cities felt that smartphones had replaced the television, the camera (87%), the alarm clock (80%) and the music device (72%). Female respondents displayed more anxiety than their male counterparts if deprived of their smartphones. 73% of the female respondents and 64% of the male respondents claimed to get nervous if they forgot their phone while stepping out, whereas 72% of female respondents and 60% of male respondents claimed that they cannot live without their smartphone.
Privacy and data security
When it comes to privacy and data security, Gen Z (95%) were found to be more proactive than millennials (94%) and Gen X (90%) in adjusting the privacy permissions on their phone. Female respondents (84%) were found to be more aware than male respondents (74%) about security threats and had a security software installed on their smartphone. Almost 94% of women respondents knew how to adjust privacy permissions. Interestingly, 50% of women respondents allowed their browser to save all their passwords â€“ something that respondents from metro cities (47%) did more than their counterparts in Tier-1 (39%) and Tier-2 (34%) cities.
With a view to ensuring digital privacy and a secure dating experience, NortonLifeLock recommends the following best practices to safeguard oneâ€™s online identity:
1. Use strong passwords: Donâ€™t reuse your passwords across websites and apps. Make them complex and pick a random word that includes a combination of at least 10 letters, numbers, and symbols. Using a password manager to generate complex, unguessable passwords can also help.
2. Keep your software updated: Cyber criminals frequently use known exploits, or flaws, in your software to gain access to your system. Patching those exploits and flaws can help make it less likely that youâ€™ll become a cybercrime target.
4. Think before you click: Be on the lookout for phishing efforts and questionable offers. Donâ€™t click on dubious email or text message links or open attachments from an unknown source. They might take you to a site that asks you to reveal personal information, or that puts malware on your device. If you see an attractive offer on an item, ensure it is from a legitimate retailer.
5. Use a full-service internet security suite: Invest in a comprehensive all-in-one protective solution that offers real-time protection against existing and emerging threats including anti-malware, spam and phishing, and increased cloud technologies to help safeguard consumersâ€™ devices and information as they bank, shop and find love online, even when connecting on public WiFi.
6. Take measures to help protect yourself against identity theft: Be careful what you put online. NEVER post your address or personal information on your profile as this can lead to a whole host of problems beyond identity theft such as stalking and harassment. Online dating apps require a host of personal information in order to set up an account so ensure you give permission to access information that is necessary. It is also best to use a password that has no obvious association to you.