How to safely dip your toe in the metaverse dating pool

If this is the first time hearing the word 'metaverse', you're not alone. The concept is not something new, however. The metaverse has been around for quite some time.

Twenty years ago, author Neal Stephenson created the idea in his science fiction cyber novel, Snow Crash. Since then, reality, or virtual reality, in this case, has come to fruition and is soon to be the new norm in the online dating world.

What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is virtual reality (VR) and it creates an immersive and safe environment, offering an intense and realistic experience. It invokes an individual's senses to make them feel like they're actually in an authentic setting. VR contains avatars that represent a user's persona in the digital world The avatar interacts and meets others, essentially you! It is as close to reality as possible. No wonder VR is catching on rapidly.

man in black crew neck t-shirt wearing black sunglasses holding black smartphone Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash

VR increases the interaction among humans through an immersive real-world experience. Individuals who interact through the technology can observe others' body language and behavior, increasing trust among those whom they engage with. VR has already made its way to the modern world, and we all benefit from it in many ways. Corporations use it for bringing colleagues and business stakeholders together across the globe. Entertainment companies provide experiences for users, architects, and realtors to experience a space using VR. It makes sense, as today's digital environment propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic shifted everyone's activities online.

For those of you used to traditional dating, that is, going out somewhere and meeting people in person, metaverse dating may seem very strange and maybe downright scary. It may even seem a little odd to the 55% of LGBTQ people in the U.S. who date online. However, online dating applications are see VR dating as the future. Match and Tinder invested in virtual technology and economies, yes cryptocurrency used to purchase goods and services through the application.

According to Pew research, 45% of current users of online dating sites in the U.S. have negative experiences. Why? Because many people falsify their information online. As online dating steadily increases, how can you safely meet your partner online?

One of the attractive features that virtual reality dating offers is a trusted environment to meet and interact with others instead of traditional online dating. Instead of swiping left or right on a profile that contains information, photos, and video, VR technology allows you to immerse and interact with other humans in real-time. It brings a warmer shared experience into the online world and helps to verify another individual before meeting them, mitigating the usual online dating woes of catfishing, lying, the presence of physical dangers. But, there are risks that come with with online dating.

Managing Your Online Risks

You should ever take your security for granted. Protecting yourself online is necessary no matter what gadgets you use, and it is not that difficult to implement some safety measures before speeding down the Internet highway.

VR technology presents four specific areas of security concerns that you may encounter and here is some advice on how to overcome them.

Data Security

VR technology requires a connection to the Internet, and all connected devices require security software to prevent data leaks and unauthorized intrusions. Yes, even your VR technology is hackable! Secure your information, be sure to use appropriate authentication measures, properly configure the settings, and use advanced endpoint protection that includes antivirus for IoT devices.

Privacy Security

Tech applications can expose your data, and most new tech toys lack security. For example, VR technology does not encrypt the data, a process that scrambles your information to prevent unauthorized access. Therefore, the technology can expose your conversations, data, and whereabouts to third parties. Imagine if a stalker obtains your whereabouts because a third-party application shared your data. A good privacy measure is to remain cautious of the information you share in the application and use it.

A man looking through binoculars that have the facebook logo in their lenses Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

Physical Security

If someone is targeting you to harm you physically, they can obtain information on you without even meeting you, and that is a risk. Remaining aware while using the technology is essential. Just as you would not relay sensitive information to a stranger via traditional methods, avoid doing so through VR.

What about self-harm or those in your surroundings? VR technology limits the senses of the individual using it. This means you cannot see your surroundings or hear what is going on. Several injuries stem from individuals in the metaverse who have hurt themselves stumbling into a coffee table or walking into a wall, even damaging their televisions throwing something. It's crucial to use technology wisely in an area free from obstacles.

Fraud and Identity Theft

Not everyone has the right intent. Fraudsters and those looking to steal identities will always be lurking. Though virtual reality dating is undoubtedly an excellent step to verify someone before meeting them and gaining a better sense of trust, thinking that you're safe from harm is a false sense of hope. Never provide sensitive information about yourself that someone could use against you.

Even though VR technology is new and provides a safer environment to meet people online, protecting yourself from adverse events is imperative and safe dating tips should be considered.

Once you developed a safety plan and put the right measures in place, go ahead and have fun with VR dating. It could be the next place you meet your next mate! Knowing the risks and how to navigate safely will help keep you safe.

Step aside, traditional online dating! The future is here, and the metaverse is now a reality.

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