Sending out an SOS: Bonkers dating makes safety a priority

Bonkers Dating SOS

A new dating and hookup app that allows you to send out an ‘SOS’ signal to designated friends if a date turns dangerous is set to launch in the UK in May 2023.

The app, Bonkers, bills itself as the UK’s “safest dating app”. For those not familiar with UK sex slang, ‘bonk’ is a casual, if somewhat outdated, term for having sex (it’s a bit tamer than ‘shagging’). The Bonkers app has a designated ‘Bonk’ setting, for those seeking short-term hookups.

To use the ‘SOS’ function in the app, you create a network of designated ‘protectors’: friends or family who you trust to contact if things go south on a date. You then press the SOS button in the app, which will allow a ‘protector’ to see your live location on a map.

The function doesn’t appear to offer anything more helpful than anything you’d find on messaging apps like WhatsApp, which also has a live location function. However, Bonkers has other features bolstering its safety-focused credentials.

Beyond location

To use the app you have to verify your profile with photo identification, potentially decreasing the chances of catfishers finding success on the app. It also promotes video calls before IRL dates, and blocks screenshots being taken, reducing the chances of racy photos meant for private use being stored or shared without consent.

The app is also set to have user ratings, which could certainly help flag problematic individuals, but could raise problems if users decide to down-vote people they simply don’t like, or discover they object to for non-safety reasons.

Bonkers will use technology developed by WalkSafe, a safety app that gives users information about their surroundings, including police and community-reported data about crime.

Emma Kay, founder of WalkSafe, said: “I’ve been on dates where I’ve been touched up, where people have been absolutely disgusting and it does turn you off dating apps, they’re not safe. Having Bonkers using our technology, for me, is a real kind of step forward in the right direction.”

You can sign up to Bonkers, ahead of the imminent app launch, at its official website, no specific launch date has been set for May yet.

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Jamie F

Jamie F

Jamie is a freelance writer, contributing to outlets such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN and Vice.

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