6 Tips for Staying Safe While Dating Online

Past generations met their significant others through traditional means, like going with friends to a local bar, being introduced by mutual friends or family members, or even through a community or church singles event. But those events often seemed hit or miss, especially if one gender outnumbered the other.

In fact, these events could make people feel like they were a fresh chunk of bait dropped into a shark tank. If they did meet someone through these methods then there was always the sense of pressure of deciding, “Is this the one?” And should that question result in a negative answer the process would start all over again.

Can’t Help Falling In Digital Love

Albert Einstein once said that, “You can’t blame gravity for falling in love.” That is as true today as when he first made the statement. However in today’s digital age there is one thing that people can blame for falling in love – the internet! Online dating sites are popping up all over the place, and accept singles that fall within a wide range of demographics.

Finding love through an online dating site has countless benefits. You can get to know someone without ever having to meet them face to face. If you’re stuck with those early relationship jitters, you can disguise them with technical issues. There’s no awkward flirting, and as long as you keep things text-based through instant messages and email, you don’t have to worry about whether your hair is a mess or if food fell onto your shirt during dinner.

Stranger Danger While Online Dating

Keep in mind that the people you meet online are virtually strangers. There is no guarantee that they are who they say they are. And if you don’t follow basic safety precautions then online dating can be more dangerous than romantic. The last thing anyone wants is for an online dating experience to end in tragedy that could have been avoided by using a little common sense.

Some scam-related advice is also useful when online dating. For example you should always ignore requests for you to send money, never share your personal or financial information, and always be suspicious of those who send you emails that contain any kind of strange links to other website. Here are some additional safety tips:

  • Suspicious usersshould be blocked at once and reported to the company. Even the best online dating sites that use the most up-to-date technology can’t catch all the creeps. But when you report suspicious users then you could be helping to prevent a bad situation for yourself or someone else.

  • Do not meet onlineuntil you have gotten to know them through the dating site, and then through instant messages. When messaging, set up a special screen name that avoids using your personal information and never give out links to your social networks, where online stalkers can learn way too much about you in a short amount of time.

  • Meet in public placeslike a popular restaurant that offers valet parking, a shopping mall that uses a lot of security cameras, or even a coffee shop that sees a fair amount of foot traffic throughout the day. The important thing is that there are a lot of people around who will see you and this person together should something go sour.

  • Stay in publiceven if the date asks you to go elsewhere. Never, ever go back to the date’s home, invite them to your home, or go to a hotel with this person. No matter how well you think you know them online, you just met them for the first time and a little common sense goes a long way.

  • Tell someone elsewho you are meeting. Let them know the time, date, and place of the meeting. It is a good idea to keep your mobile phone with you. Have someone on standby that you can text to come rescue you if the date isn’t going as planned. I have a friend who uses this even during dates with women who he meets in offline situations.

  • Stay sober and drive yourselfto and from the date. During the early part of a relationship, especially on a date with someone you are meeting offline for the first time, it is important to retain a little control. Keep your drink with you to avoid having anyone tamper with it, and keep personal items with you so nobody steals your financial information or worse, your identiy.
Long distance meetings are a whole other story. When traveling to meet someone offline, stay in a hotel and never invite the person back to your room. If you can’t afford a hotel, then do not go. If you are flying then use a car service to go to and from the airport, or better yet rent a car to use while you are there.
During a long distance meeting, keep family and friends posted through phone calls. Anyone can send a text message from your phone and make it seem like you are having the time of your life, even if you’re in a situation that prevents you from using the phone yourself. The phrase better safe than sorry is one that applies to multiple stages of online dating. The best relationship is a safe relationship!
About the Author
Whenever freelance writer Melissa Camerons single friends lament that they’re tired of the bar scene, she points them to sites like and reminds them about staying safe when dating online. And when her teenagers are online she reminds them about staying safe period! Whenever she’s not working Melissa and her family spend their time camping, fishing, or perusing antique shops for undiscovered relics.

Around the web