31 Online Dating Safety Tips | Dating App Safety Measures
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The world of online dating is massive and growing.
Busy schedules, open access to technology, and a generally difficult dating world are creating strong demand for apps like Tinder and OKCupid.
Let’s face it - we live in a world where everything is at our fingertips.
If we want to know, “Who was the first European navigator to reach Australia?” we can simply Google it, and have the answer in less than 1 second (Answer: Willem Janszoon).
It only makes sense to be able to open your phone, type in some criteria, and get a list of good looking guys who are single and looking to date.
There are negatives to online dating. It reduces a person to digital bits, numbers, and information. It’s slowly removing the human element of courtship, which leads to atrophy of social skills, and furthermore loss of social programming. This hurts the dating world, because eventually two online profiles have to meet in person to begin a real life connection - and some are not prepared for the nuances of real world dating.
Though online dating might seem surface level, it does provide benefits. It reduces public anxiety and potential humiliation associated with meeting someone in public and being rejected. If a guy rejects you on a dating app, only you will know.
It’s also efficient and allows you to screen people based on specific criteria - like if you only want to date men who are Christian, then you can filter it.
Lastly, it does provide a layer of safety not available in real life dating. Talking with potential suitors online before meeting in person, provides a new layer of physical safety which is always important in dating, especially for women.
In this article we’ll discuss 31 safety measures you can take to ensure your online dating journey is filled with smart choices and great matches.
Choosing an Online Dating App/Site
1. Stick to Reputable Apps and Websites
There are thousands of dating apps and websites for singles. Stick to the reputable companies - they will have more features, better user experience, and most importantly more potential matches.
While it’s tempting to put yourself out there on many platforms, you’ll end up stretching yourself thin and you run the risk of being scammed. Stick to the popular ones - they’re the most used for a reason.
Some reputable apps and websites: Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel, Tinder, Bumble, OKCupid.
2. Paid vs. Free
Normally price and quality are correlated, but that’s not the case with dating apps. Most of the free dating apps are also the best (see list above)
They give you the option to pay for extras like more swipes or better visibility. If you personally like a paid feature, feel free to indulge. However most apps allow you to use them seamlessly and successfully without having to pay anything.
Setting Up Your Online Dating Profile
3. Don’t Disclose All of Your Personal Information
Keep it simple stupid (K.I.S.S.). You shouldn’t disclose all of your personal information for privacy reasons alone.
But from a dating standpoint, you don’t want a person of interest to know everything about you, before you’ve even started talking.
The allure of meeting someone new is the mystery and novelty of getting to know them. Instead of writing that you love Pinot Noir, dark chocolate, and Marvel action movies, let those topics come up naturally in conversation when you meet the guy.
4. Don’t Disclose Your Address or GPS Location
Don’t allow GPS tracking, unless your app requires it. Someone you match with may be able to view where you work, daily route, or worse, find out where you live.
Some apps have proximity as part of their dating algorithm - meaning they try to match you with people in your vicinity. Obviously if you’re on these apps, you are interested in meeting people near you, so you’re knowingly allowing GPS tracking. But always be mindful of the dangers.
5. Use Unique Photos for Your Online Persona
There’s a thing called reverse image search. Someone can take a photo from your online dating profile, add to the reverse image search, and discover where that photo appears on the internet. This means your personal social media accounts, employment profiles, and other sensitive information may be at risk. Use different photos for your online dating profiles.
6. Think Twice Before Linking Social Media Profiles
Many dating sites allow you to link social media profiles like Instagram. While this may showcase interesting details about your life, it may also provide unnecessary and potentially dangerous information to others about where you hangout, and who your friends and family are.
Matching with People Online
7. Detect Early Warning Signs
In a sea of options, you have the luxury of being picky. Detect early warning signs such as:
- No pictures of their face
- All pictures are high quality modeling pictures
- Profiles asking you to connect with them using a different platform
8. Create a Connection on the App Before Transitioning to Phone Numbers
Some guys will ask for your number quickly. It’s reasonable that the purpose of being on a dating app is to get off the app as soon as possible. However, you lose the shield of the dating platform once you transition to numbers and make yourself more vulnerable to either a scam or a predator. Only send your number after you’ve created a connection.
9. Have a Phone Call or Video Call with Him Before Meeting in Person
Phone or video calls with a potential date are important and often overlooked. From a safety standpoint, it allows you to hear his voice or see his face while speaking to him, allowing you to vet him even more. From a dating standpoint, a phone or video call will create more comfort and connection and make the first date even better.
Setting Up An In-Person Date
10. Meet in a Public Location
Always meet a new guy in a public location. This can be any place from a park, to a mall, to a coffee shop.
11. Meet in Locations with People
Always meet in locations where there will be other people. Don’t agree to meet in a desolate public location.
12. Meet in Locations That You Can Easily Leave
Always meet in locations that you can easily leave if you aren’t comfortable or aren’t interested in the date.
13. Meet at an Appropriate Time
Meet at appropriate times of day. Afternoon is a great time to meet for coffee or to check out a museum. More crime happens later at night, so it’s best to stay safe especially when meeting a stranger.
Before the Date
14. Ensure Your Phone is Fully Charged
Your phone can help in several ways. Call an Uber or Lyft if you want to leave the date early or if there is an issue with public transportation. Call a friend if you feel uncomfortable on a date so someone knows your situation. Lastly call the police or turn on your GPS tracking app if you feel threatened.
15. Tell Family or Friends
Always tell someone where you’re going and details about who you’re meeting. Ideally you should let someone know his name, profile pictures, where he’s from, and his phone number. The worst case scenario is your best friend has all of his information and does nothing with it. The best case scenario is something happens to you, and police are able to track him down based on the information you left with your best friend.
16. Use GPS Tracking Apps
Following up on the phone point, download a GPS tracking app like Find My Friends or Google Maps and connect with family or close friends on it. If you don’t make it home, your friends and family can pinpoint your location and police can track your route.
17. Bring a Self Defense Product
Always have a self defense product in your bag or on your person. You can carry pepper spray like Mace in your bag or you can wear a self defense ring like Defender Ring on your finger. While you may not have to use a self defense weapon, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
18. Arrange Your Own Transportation
Arrive to the date spot using your own transportation. You never want to be dependent on the other person to leave the date or get home. Plus you don’t want the guy to know where you live before you get to know him. Being in the car with a stranger makes you vulnerable as you’re secluded and under his control.
19. Tell a Friend to Call or Text During the Date to Check In
Have a friend call or text you during the date to give you a potential excuse to end the date early if you aren’t interested or are uncomfortable. You can answer the phone and tell the guy that you have to leave because someone needs you and end the date early without hurting his feelings.
Going On The Date
20. Limit Alcohol
Alcohol is a dangerous intoxicant and can impair your judgment and motor skills on a date. It can make your inhibitions and reasoning decrease, allowing your date to convince you to do things you normally wouldn’t. It can also diminish your motor skills making you physically vulnerable to him overpowering you. If you’re going to drink on a date, make sure you have an established limit. One drink is normally enough to ensure that nerves are relaxed and you don’t overdo it.
21. Never Leave Your Drink Unattended
Rohypnol, a.k.a. Roofies or the date rape drug, is one of the most dangerous sedative drugs you can be affected with on a date. It has 10 times the potency of Valium, and can knock you out in minutes. It can be easily slipped into your drink, so ensure you attend to your drink at all times.
22. Never Leave Your Personal Belongings Unattended
Your wallet, phone, and keys should be on you or in your sight at all times. A potential predator can use the information on your driver’s license to find out where you live, steal your keys to gain access to your house, or copy down vital information from your phone. You also don’t want to leave your personal belongings unattended for risk of theft.
23. Tell Someone If You Feel Uncomfortable
Tell the bartender, cashier, bouncer, or any hired gun if you feel uncomfortable on the date. Seasoned hired guns have seen many social situations and dates before and know how to navigate a sticky situation. They’ll be understanding of your situation and in a position of power to help.
24. Don’t Be Afraid To Be a Bitch
If your date is offending you or crossing your boundaries, you don’t have to maintain a polite face. If he’s violating your space or taking things too far, tell him off in the most direct terms so there’s no miscommunication.
25. Split the Bill
Splitting the bill is controversial as some argue that men should always pay out of chivalry, while others argue you should split the bill. We believe splitting the bill removes any underlying contracts of owing someone something. Plus, you want to be independent and accountable for your own expenses.
26. Don’t Go Home with Someone On the First Date
Chances are you will only have known this person for a few hours. If you think this person is really special and you’ve made a deep connection, it’s easy to want to continue that feeling. But if it’s true that you have a special deep connection with him, then it will last until the next date. If it doesn’t, then maybe it’s a sign it wouldn’t have lasted.
Going to a stranger’s home on the first date is very dangerous and puts you in an isolated environment where you’re very vulnerable.
After The Date
27. If You’re Interested, Continue Vetting the Person
Congrats on a great first date! If you’re interested in him, make plans to see each other again and make sure to continue evaluating whether he’s a good fit for you. Be careful not to be blinded by one or two dates and ignore potential red flags. As you go on more dates, delve deeper into each other’s pasts, commonalities, and aspirations to make sure he’s a good fit for you.
28. If You’re Not Interested, Let the Other Person Know
The least we can do is be honest. If you’re not feeling someone, let them down gently and appropriately. This will also prevent any resentful or vengeful feelings if you ghost or lead them on. Do unto others as you would like them to do to you.
29. Proceed Slowly
Sparks fly and you hit it off with the man of your dreams. He checks off every box on your list and is looking for something serious. That’s great! If he’s the one and you two will up spending the rest of your lives together, then there truly is no rush. You’ve only been on a handful of dates with him, and you both have a lot more to learn about each other. Take things slow and continue to vet him. From a dating standpoint, it will be a more fulfilling relationship if you build up the attraction and connection at a steady pace so you both appreciate each other more.
30. Watch Out for Red Flags
We all have deal breakers. Make sure you know what your deal breakers are and stick to them. If someone you really like breaks a hard rule you’ve set, walk away. If you compromise or change your boundaries for someone, they will continue to break them in the future.
31. Report People On the App
Most apps give you the option to report people for fraud, scams, or inappropriate behavior. If a date does something very inappropriate or isn’t who he said he was on his profile, make sure to report him to the app. This type of group reporting can potentially save or help other women from experiencing the same issues.
The Future of Online Dating
Online dating is new and exciting. We’re social creatures, and most of us love spending time with a significant other to experience the world together. There are risks whenever you meet new people and these should not be discounted just because of the potential benefits. Follow our tips above and you will be able to online date in a safe and smart manner, and enjoy the fruits of this wonderful new dating era.
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