Online dating has been a topic of debate for quite some time. It’s been criticized for a wide range of reasons. However, it’s Achilles Heel has always been safety. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Think about it – for ages, we’ve been told not to talk strangers and here we are, trying to date and even marry them.
But, jokes and irony apart, online dating exists because it works and to answer the question, yes, it’s safe. If it wasn’t safe, no one would be doing it. However, this isn’t to say that there are no dangers at all. Nothing is ever a 100% safe and we’ve all heard of cases where online dating has gone horribly wrong.
But, at the end of the day, safety is one’s own responsibility. Online dating is just as risky as meeting someone at a single’s bar. You never really know what you’re getting yourself into. So, follow these online dating safety tips and you should be good to go.
Don’t Divulge Too Much
This is rule number one of internet usage – never publish personal information such as an address or phone number. Those are for people you actually know and have met in the past. In fact, this rule doesn’t just apply to online dating. It applies to everything you do on the internet. You never know who’s watching and keeping a track.
Keep the communication with your “date” to a bare minimum. If they intend to meet, make sure you meet them in a public space with people. Take the time to get to know them before you get intimate.
When creating profiles on dating websites or apps, make sure you create ones with nicknames. This is to ensure that the other person can’t track you or find out personal details about you. These days, you can do that with just a name.
Keep People Informed
So, you’ve finally agreed to meet your date. Well and good. But, remember, this is a very important part of the dating process. This is where you need to keep people informed. Tell your friend and loved ones where you’re going and how you can be reached.
As we suggested earlier, make sure you meet in a public location with people around.
Helen Fisher, a Senior Researcher at the Kinsey Institute, even suggests going so far as to establish a routine with family and friends. This routine should include updating them about change in locations, when the date wraps up, and when you reach home.
This might seem like a lot of work, but, better safe than sorry, right?
By updating your friends and family, you’re leaving a trail for them to track in case something does go wrong. Apart from that, it will give them some peace of mind.
If you’re meeting for the first time, we suggest that you avoid anything that is intoxicating, especially alcohol. According to law enforcement experts, you must also avoid consuming anything that’s not directly coming from the bartender or waitress/waiter. Rape by intoxication makes up a good chunk of all reported rape incidents.
If your date offers you anything, refuse politely. If they respect you, they will understand.
After you’ve met your date and hung out with him/her a few times, we suggest you do some research on them. Check them up on criminal registries to see if they have a criminal past. This might not seem “right”, but it’s not exactly wrong either.
You’re doing it for your own safety and maybe, even the safety of someone else.