Online dating is no longer as taboo as it was during the initial stages of the digital age. In fact, millions - if not billions - of online users from across the globe are resorting to virtual dating. And hundreds of thousands have succeeded in meeting their “the one”. Then again, of course, like in any digital platform, there are potential threats and possible consequences of online dating, especially if one’s not cautious enough.
It takes conscious and consistent efforts to ensure safe dating in the virtual world. After all, it could get challenging to decipher one’s true intentions if we were solely based on words (which could be easily made up) and photos (which could be easily edited). So, is online dating safe? Well then read on to find out. We’ve as well collated and included below some online dating safety tips and the unspoken rules for online dating safety.
Before we proceed into discussing the precautionary measures to ensure a safe online date experience, let’s first understand why you would need to be cautious in the first place.
The virtual world, in general, has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. Though basically, technological innovations are meant for the greater good, some users can’t seem to resist the temptation of taking advantage of such tools. It’s the same case with online dating. Social platforms were initially created to provide a positive and healthy venue for people who’re searching for a great company - hopefully, their life partner. However, online predators use other people’s emotions and vulnerable states to pursue their malicious intentions.
Here are some of the common warning signs to look out for when online dating.
So, in reality, how safe is online dating? Well, we dare say it depends on your level of preparedness before entering into this virtual world. Don’t get us wrong, of course, the aforementioned threats are as real as they get and are triggered by factors out of your control. The thing, however, is there are several things you could do to steer yourself away from such dangers.
Here are some tips for safe dating.
Probably one of the best advantages of having access to the internet is that one can efficiently and conveniently acquire the information they need. A quick Google search, for instance, could provide the full details of your favorite shop, including the routes and directions on how to go about visiting their physical shop.
One of the safest online dating tips is to first initiate in-depth research about your date before moving into the next stage or meeting up in person. Of course, the details they divulge matter, but recorded facts are still a different thing. Various third-party people search engines, like Kiwi Searches, help ensure safe online dating. They provide extensive and comprehensive reports with information collated from reliable sources and official reporting agencies. All you have to do is type in your date’s name, phone number, or address.
Also one of the basic tips for online dating sites is to keep personal and confidential information from getting disclosed too soon. This precautionary step on how to date online safely can significantly prevent privacy breaches and data exploitations.
Divulging details about yourself could mean lowering your guard and giving the other person personal access to you. Of course, there shouldn’t be any issues if the intentions are clear and pure, or if you’re both on the same page. Unless you’ve made sure of that though, avoid sharing your complete legal name, active personal phone number, and email address, and home or work address. Of course, it shouldn’t go without saying to not divulge banking information, login credentials, and the like. It’s also highly recommended to not share details of your daily routines or usual schedules.
One of the unspoken online dating rules is to not get too attached while you’re still in the chatting stage. This is because we all know words could be deceiving. Plus, chat messages don’t have a tone so these could be easily misinterpreted. You could be easily misled if you solely rely on the “facts” or details mentioned in SMS messages or chats. Because again, those don’t actually have emotions.
Hence, phone calling or video chatting could be great safe dating protections. Though you aren’t yet meeting up in person, at least you’ll have an idea of how they talk and how they express themselves. Plus, though words could be deceiving, the tone, facial expressions, and body language typically wouldn’t lie. It could be harder to fake those things than the punch lines and cheesy responses, as well as the Good Mornings and I Miss Yous.
So then when you’ve finally both decided to meet up in person, this is where you should proceed with extreme caution. Moving your online dating to the next stage - meeting up in person - is a huge move. This is where reality starts to kick in, and some typically get surprised about the big difference in the illusion they’ve created about the person they’re virtually dating versus the real-life version of them.
Unfortunately, a public meet-up place is one of the most underrated online dating tips. This is probably because people typically associate privacy with quality time. While that’s true in some aspects, we recommend you stick to one of the most common safety tips for online dating - choosing a public or familiar place, especially if it’s your first time meeting.
If you own a car and/or can drive, one way to maintain safe and secure online dating is to go to the meet-up place without asking your date to pick you up. This is specifically applicable to first-time meet-ups. This would also be a wise move if you haven’t disclosed your home or work address yet before the meet-up. Also, by having your own transportation, you can leave anytime the date gets uncomfortable.
If you can’t drive to your date, it’s okay to utilize public transportation. Be sure, however, to set the meet-up place where such transports are easily accessible to still ensure online safe dating.
When things between you and your online date get serious, one safe dating online tip is to let someone you trust know about it. By sharing what’s going on with your love life with a close friend or a family member, you acquire fresh sets of eyes to look at the situation without bias; you could expect objective advice from them.
It’s also important that when you meet up with someone you’ve just met online, you let anyone from your intimate circle know about it. So in case your safe dating online expectation turns into a nightmare (knock on wood), they'd know where to start looking for you or how to rescue you.
If you’re looking for one sure way on how to date online safely, stay sober the entire time you decide to meet up. Alcohol - of any content - tends to cloud judgments. Hence, staying sober is one of the best safe dating tips we can provide to ensure you can clearly judge your date’s character.
If alcoholic drinks are unavoidable, be sure to minimize the amount you consume. You wouldn’t want to get drunk on your first meet-up and let your guard down right off the bat. More importantly, be mindful and keep a watchful eye on any drink - alcoholic or not - that’s offered to you to prevent getting drugged and taken advantage of.
It would be an advantage if you know martial arts or basic self-defense moves. If not, you could still take precautionary safe date online measures by utilizing self-defense items. Though, of course, it wouldn’t assure you an upper hand in the situation, it could grant you enough time to escape and/or ask for help.
Of course, it wouldn’t have to be as grand as guns or bulletproof vests. You could bring subtle self-defense items like pepper spray. In fact, you could even bring an umbrella, a book, or a chain of keys - these could also serve as great defense tools should you end up in worst-case scenarios.