Seriously Though — How Safe Is Online Dating Really?
The swipe right, swipe left movement is nothing new. People are becoming more particular about the kind of partners they want for themselves. And when you know what you’re looking for, you tend to gravitate towards swiping right for someone who, say, has a similar educational, family and socio-economic background. It’s kinda perfect, right?
Well, there are a few things you need to consider safety-wise first. Using a reputable dating or social media site is vital and the vetting process before you meet someone for the first time is equally important.
“The reality is that one should be cautious when engaging and meeting with strangers. You should be aware of the dangers associated with online dating, be clued up on the warning signs and be extra vigilant so that you can protect yourself if the need arises,” says Casey Rousseau from 1st for Women Insurance.
So, while online dating may be a great way to meet people, is it safe? Here’s the low-down:
Did you know?
- One in three people are dating online.
- Approximately 57% of online daters have admitted to being dishonest.
- About 55% have experienced some sort of threat or problem while dating online.
*Stats are reported by international internet security firm, Kaspersky.
So pick a spot…
The first meet-up needs to be in a public area. Going on a date with a stranger you’ve only spoken to online can make anyone feel vulnerable. So meet in a busy, public setting. Tell a friend or family member where you’re meeting and give them an estimated time you expect to be back. Someone should always be aware of your whereabouts. Alternatively, arrange for a good friend or group of friends to be in the same area, in case you need their help.
When online dating begins to feel unsafe
1/ Firstly, don’t drink too much! Yeah, yeah, we know you want to calm those first-date nerves, but it’s important to keep a clear head. Being under the influence of alcohol could leave you vulnerable. Also keep a close eye on your drink at all times to make sure nothing suspicious is added to it.
2/ It’s okay to share information about yourself, but don’t give away too many personal details. Protect info like your place of work, address and regular hangouts. If you’re as inquisitive as I am, research potential matches by doing an online search on platforms such as LinkedIn, which will provide you with intel beyond what you’ll see on Facebook or Insta.
3/ If you can, take an Uber or drive your own car to the meeting place. You don’t want someone who is essentially a stranger to know where you live. You also don’t want them to be driving, which puts them in complete control of where they take you…
4/ Check the geographical settings on the site. It’s likely that other people will be able to see your general location, but your specific address shouldn’t be visible. Your location settings on social media (revealing where you check-in etc) should also be restricted.
Now go and have fun (safely).