In the past few decades, the advancements in Internet technology have made many things possible. People can now use various applications and websites to communicate with others across the world, shop from the comfort of their homes, and do all kinds of business in a faster and more convenient way.
But, the one thing the Internet has made more feasible is the opportunity for individuals to flirt and meet their soulmates online. They can do so by using online dating websites and apps which allow them to connect with like-minded people and even possibly build a strong relationship with a potential match.
However, despite all the perks of online dating, it is important to stay safe because there are many risks involved in meeting strangers online. Read on to learn five tips you should follow to have a safe and successful online dating experience.
Use only reliable dating websites and apps
The first and most important rule you need to follow when online dating is to always use trustworthy dating websites and applications. Although there are thousands of these sites and apps available, unfortunately not all of them are genuine. That’s why it is important that you only stick to reputable sites to protect your identity and stay safe at all times.
No matter if you are looking for a serious relationship or for instance, are gay and searching for casual encounters with straight partners on “gay for straight near you” ads, remember to always keep your messages within the dating app or site for an extra layer of protection. Always check whether the dating website or app is legit before you engage in conversations with strangers.
Protect your personal information
Protecting your identity and personal information is another important safety rule you need to remember when online dating. This means never using your full name and revealing your true location or whereabouts, date of birth, place of work, and even your social media profiles to online strangers. Failing to do so increases the risk of safety issues, and can also make it easier for hackers to guess your passwords.
In addition, remember to use a unique photo of yourself, preferably one that you don’t have on your social media accounts and doesn’t reveal your location.
Video chat before you meet in person
Video chatting before meeting in person is also strongly advised when online dating. The greatest benefit of this is to ensure that the person you have been talking to over the website or app is who they claim to be in their profile. If they refuse to video chat with you, then that could be a suspicious sign and you should back off as soon as possible.
While video chatting, make sure you examine your match’s behavior and background to look for any signs of unusual activity. If you see something you don’t like or make you uncomfortable, politely end the video chat and block or report the profile.
Be smart about face-to-face meetings
Even if you have been talking and video chatting with your match for a while now, you still need to be smart about your face-to-face meetings.
Firstly, make sure you tell a friend about your date and share your location for greater protection. You might want to consider planning a “safe call” which involves asking your friend to call you during your date to check if you are safe and sound.
Also, when choosing the location of your date, remember to always meet in public places with a lot of people around such as restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and parks.
Watch out for potential red flags
Watching out for potential red flags can also help you stay safe when online dating. While some of these flags are pretty obvious, others may seem innocent at first but could end up being quite risky and suspicious later on.
Some common online dating red flags you should be on the lookout for include:
- Your prospective match has only one or two pictures;
- They constantly avoid answering important questions or provide vague answers;
- They are forcing you to meet in person;
- They post their social media profiles on their dating profile;
- Disappear and reappear with a different name;
- They tell inconsistent stories about themselves.
Although online dating makes it easier to meet new people, it is important that you stay safe at all times to protect yourself from any potential dangers. You can do so by keeping your personal information private, using trustworthy dating websites and apps, and watching out for common red flags. This can help you have a safe and successful online dating experience.