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How Australians are using AI to navigate the online dating world

Australians are turning to AI as a valuable tool to help them navigate online dating to increase their chances of finding a match and protect them from becoming the victim of a scam, according to leading cyber safety brand Norton.

Norton has released a new global consumer survey which shows more than half (58 per cent) of Australian online daters are considering taking on AI to be their coach in the dating game.

The 2024 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report Special Release: Online Dating reveals our online behaviours when it comes to meeting and swapping information online with potential partners and romantic interests.

The report showed Australians on average spend 9 hours a week and $170 in their lifetime on dating apps and services.

They are now looking to turn that investment into AI to steer them through online dating and help them come up with a favourable match.

The survey showed that 64 per cent of people are interested in using AI to write pick up lines and conversation starters while 59 per cent would use AI to improve their dating profile with 59 per cent employing AI for photo enhancement.

But Norton has also uncovered a dark side to dating which shows nearly a third of Australians (27 per cent) have been targeted by a dating scam and two in 5 (39 per cent) of that 27 per cent become victims.

On top of that one quarter (25 per cent) of Australians who have used a dating app have admitted to being catfished.

“Online dating is notoriously difficult to navigate and using AI as a dating coach seems innocuous when you’re on the receiving end of a bad pickup line or trying to draft a thoughtful breakup text,” said Mark Gorrie, Managing Director APAC for Norton.

“However, AI technology can also make online dating riskier and more complicated when it’s utilised in more nefarious ways.

“Romance scams aren’t new, but AI is changing the game and making these types of scams more common and much harder to spot.

“People need to stay vigilant for signs of romance scams such as individuals who avoid video or phone calls, have very few images on their dating profiles or attempt to progress the relationship quickly.”

The Norton Report also uncovered:

1 in 5 (20 per cent) Australians who have used a dating app have given a false age on their dating profile.

– Current online dating users ranked Tinder (63 per cent) and Bumble (62 per cent) as the safest dating apps while Telegram is rated the least safe, with only 42 per cent of Australians agreeing it is safe.

– Over half (56 per cent) of Australians have used an online dating app while travelling or on vacation.

AI is only going to increase in popularity when it comes to online dating which could result in even more scams targeting online daters.

Norton says there is a critical need for education and awareness around cyber safety.

Norton already has a tool that can navigate online dating safely called Norton Genie.

It is a free AI-powered scam detection app that can review suspicious texts, emails or web links including those that direct people to fake dating sites or website links from prospective matches.