5 Tips to Stay Safe While Using Dating Apps
The internet is a great place for you to meet your potential significant other. Online dating is trending now more than ever — it’s a popular resource for dating like-minded people. A survey from 2017 concluded that 37% of married couples met each other through dating apps.
Single people scour the internet to find love for a multitude of reasons. But it’s important to remember your top priority, staying safe. Our list includes five precautions, ensuring your safety from swiping and conversation to the first official meetup.
1. Meet in Public
The first time you meet someone in real life, it should take place in a public setting — restaurants, coffee houses, populated parks. Meeting in public is the most important safety precaution, even if you’ve exchanged dozens of emails and late-night phone calls with the person you’re preparing to meet.
You can start the process of getting to know someone online, but you don’t know who a person truly is until you meet them face-to-face. While the danger is generally low, there’s always a chance that the person on the other side of your computer screen is misleading you — meeting in a public place will prevent the possibility of a dangerous encounter.
2. Share Your Location with Friends or Family
This safety tip comes straight from the online dating rulebook — always, always tell your friends and family the exact location of your meeting place. If the date is going well and you both decide to go somewhere else for dessert, tell your safety network about the change in location by sending a quick group text.
If you’re feeling particularly nervous on a first date with someone you've met online, you can easily set your phone up to share your location in real time with your team. You might feel an even stronger sense of security if a friend checks in with you every 30 minutes: you’ll want to ask a friend who you trust — tell them to call the police if you don’t respond within five minutes; but make sure you keep your phone’s volume on high!
3. Research Doesn’t Mean Stalking
Before you get dressed up for your date, why not do a little research? No one will know besides you, and there’s no harm in finding out everything you can about the stranger you’re about to meet. Yes, this stranger might be your soulmate, but for now, dig into his past on the internet. You can locate him on social media channels — you can see what he posts, as well as his friends’ comments.
Conduct a Google search with just his name, see if anything interesting pops up. Is your potential beau a criminal, or is he on the sex offender registry? Maybe he is a philanthropist who has donated millions of dollars to worthy nonprofit organizations and charities. You won’t know for sure until you check. There’s no reason for you to feel like a stalker. The term ‘stalker’ is used so loosely these days, public information is up for grabs.
4. Trust Your Instincts
When you’re chatting with someone you just met online, red flags can pop up. There will be times when a woman seems too good to be true, or a man is being pushy and demanding — you need to trust your instincts.
The old cliché reigns true, “There are plenty of fish in the sea”. If your gut is telling you to steer clear of a certain person, move on to the next one. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
5. License Plate Picture
Before getting in the car with a person you’ve just started dating, snap a quick photograph of their license plate and text it to your team. You can be stealth, subtle, and smooth — be confident. Your date will have no idea you captured a picture, as long as the flash on your cellphone is turned off.
You have probably met this person for several public dates already. When your phone chimes, you hope he’s the one texting. You’re growing more and more fond of him. Despite the fact that feelings are developing, sending a license plate picture to your bestie is a safety tip worth following. Besides, if he's the right man for you, he will understand and won't mind even if he does see you snap the picture.
Online dating is generally safe, but when it comes to meeting a stranger you've connected with online, it’s always wise to err on the side of caution.