Online dating has exploded in recent years. In fact, almost 45 million Americans used an online dating service in 2020. It is a great way to meet new people and communicate with others you may not have ever met if it wasn’t for the internet. This growth is only expected to continue as the global industry is expected to be worth over $3.5 billion.
Unfortunately, there are also some dangers that go along with online dating. People can lie about themselves, make up fake profiles or use online dating to prey on others. While most people using online dating are nice and honest people looking for a connection, this isn’t always the case.
In an effort to help you out, this article is going to go over some tips on how to stay safe while online dating.
Know who you’re dating
The first thing to do to ensure you are safe is to know who you’re dating. If all you know of a person is their description on Tinder and a few photos, you need to do a little more homework. You should do an online search of their name, and consider checking out their social media profiles to learn more, as well.
A resource like backgroundhawk.com/best-background-check-for-dating/ can also be a valuable tool to find the best background checker to help you learn what you need to know. Without doing your research, you could find yourself on a date with someone with a spotty history or someone who isn’t quite who they say they are.
Video chat before meeting in person
While seeing some pictures of a person is great, a video chat can make you more confident and comfortable ahead of a date. You can also put a voice to the face and see how a conversation over video goes before meeting in person. With FaceTime, Skype, Zoom and many other video chatting options, there is no reason not to try it first before meeting.
Even if you don’t do video, some Snapchats or picture messages back and forth is a good idea to ensure they are who they say they are. The last thing you want to do is get catfished, and video chatting or exchanging some photos in real-time can help you make sure the individual is authentic.
Meet in a public place
When you do go on your date, make sure it is in a public place. It could be the movies, a restaurant, a park, a coffee shop or even the mall. This is good because if you begin to feel uncomfortable, there will be people around that you can go to for help. Going to a public place also means your date won’t know where you live, which is something they don’t need to know on the first date.
Also, be sure to drive yourself or find your own independent way to the date. The last thing you want is to rely on your date for a ride, especially if things go poorly.
Let someone know where you are and who you’re with
It is also a good idea to let someone know your plans before heading out on your date. If something were to go wrong, you can feel confident knowing that someone knows where you are, what you are doing and who you’re doing it with.
This could be as simple as sending a text, making a call or telling a family member at home about your date. Of course, be sure to keep this person updated on how the date is going. You don’t want to scare them by not letting them know it ended up going smoothly.
Online dating can give you a chance to meet people you would have never met otherwise, but it is important to be aware of the dangers, as well.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.