In the modern world of dating services, couples are connecting digitally. Though its popularity is rising, you may still wonder if online dating is safe. Connecting virtually has risks, but it can be a fun and low-pressure way to meet potential matches if you practice caution. Read on for some pointers about what to pay attention to, and what you can expect from the experience if you’re new to the world of online dating services.
Use a Trustworthy Site
There are dozens of online dating websites and apps that target college students, so take note even if you live in a safe location. You can often depend on larger, more reputable sites to protect your private information. Most of these safe online dating services require a membership fee, so choose wisely.
Keep Your Contact Information Private
Any potential dates will likely run your name through a detailed Internet search. Never post any identifying details on your profile — including your address, phone number, or personal email. Make sure you also limit the information posted on your other virtual platforms. Set your security settings to the maximum level on all your social media accounts and never authorize an app to post your location.
Play Detective on Potential Suitors
It’s important to verify your suitor is who they say they are by checking where else their photos are posted. You may also find out whether or not they are using a fake photo of a model or celebrity. Copy the profile picture of a potential match into the Google Images search bar. Google will search for that image using facial recognition, landmark identification, and photo binary data.
Be Smart About Face-to-Face Meetings
If you’ve clicked with someone and would like to meet in person, choose your location wisely. Never meet at your home or office where they could easily find you again, and never choose a secluded location. Before you leave to meet a virtual date, tell a roommate or friend who you are meeting, where you are going, and what time you plan to be home.
Don’t Be Afraid to Report Someone
Respected dating sites will encourage users to report any shady activity. Most dating sites include the option to block an individual user if your interactions make you feel uneasy. If someone is harassing or extorting you, contact the dating site’s customer service immediately.
If you approach online dating with caution, it can be a fun and enjoyable way to experience the dating pool. You’ll find new people you’d never have the opportunity to meet, and you may end up like people whose long-term committed relationships began online.