Dating can be anxiety-inducing at the best of times. Here are some ways to stay safe and protect yourself while using them.
The world of online dating is more accessible than ever, thanks to the variety of apps available to you. You need to prioritise your safety when using these platforms though. Here are five steps you can take to ensure your e-dating experience is a positive one:
Check safety features
When choosing which app to use, investigate its safety features. Check the measures they have in place to protect you from harmful or inappropriate content. Some will limit who you can match with and how many matches you can have, while some may have verification systems. On their websites, many of the apps have online safety tips specific to their platform.
Make sure you get to know the safety features, so you can use them as soon as you feel uncomfortable. If someone behaves inappropriately, be sure to report their account as well as block them. This helps the app clamp down on dangerous people.
Let people know
When you meet someone for a date, tell people you trust in advance and meet in a public place. On Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, you can share your location with a trusted friend. Facebook Dating even has this as a feature built into the app. A reluctance to meet in public should be seen as a red flag.
While it can be awkward discussing your love life, telling friends and family who you’re dating can protect you. That way, there are others aware of your situation who can help if something doesn’t feel right.
Watch out for fake profiles
Fans of the show Catfish will probably be familiar with some of these tips. There are a few ways to check if someone isn’t who they say they are. Reverse search their photos on Google to see if they’ve been pulled from the internet.
Another red flag is social media accounts with few friends or posts, especially ones that have been made recently. If they always have an excuse for why they can’t meet or video chat, you should be wary.
Trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, call it off.
Be careful with photos and details
On any platform, it’s important to keep an eye on the information you’re sharing. It’s particularly important on dating sites where you’ll likely be connecting with strangers. If your profile links to your social media, double-check your privacy settings.
If you want to make sure your social media can’t be found by other users, use a unique photo for your app profile. Then they won’t be able to reverse image search you.
Stay within the app
Dating apps have many safety features built into them that other messaging apps don’t. Once you leave the app, you lose the protections that come with it. This could open you up to receiving unwanted links or photos that may not be banned by the dating app.
Use caution when exchanging contact information with people met on dating sites. Anyone encouraging you to move away from the app shortly after establishing contact may have dodgy intentions. If in doubt, trust your instincts.
Stay safe and have fun!
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