The short answer to this question is yes, online dating is safe. After all, as a social pastime, its popularity is increasing to the extent that millions of singles across the world regularly use dating sites. But like anything else in life, where there is no such thing as an activity that is entirely risk-free, you need to be aware of potential issues. Here are some tips for improving online safety.
Withhold personal details
One aspect you should be very aware of is not to give too much away in the initial stages. Until you get to know the person you are communicating with better, avoid letting them know your last name. Try and avoid using your actual name for your username. Personal details should also be kept yourself, such as where are you happen to work, how much you earn, and especially where you live. This isn’t to imply the person you are exchanging messages with is liable to show up on your doorstep uninvited, but it is basic common sense to hold these sorts of details back until you are in more of a position of trust.
Use the site or app for chat
Another safety hint is to ensure you only use the dating site’s messaging system for your online conversations. It might be tempting to suggest you exchange email addresses or add each other as friends to your Facebook so you can begin to communicate more readily or even indulge in a live web chat. But dating websites prioritize member safety. This means they keep a close record of the conversations being conducted on their platforms, dissuading anyone from anti-social behavior. Again, switching away from this safety net would mean you would have to give away a certain amount of personal information.
Never give money
Unfortunately, relationship sites can be used by scammers who are not really interested in forming any sort of connection other than the very superficial one required before they can begin exploiting their target. If you come across a person who lulls you in with some friendly chat, only to hit you with some sob story culminating in a request for money, then you have obviously stumbled upon a crook rather than a compatible partner.
Any top online dating site will have advanced features that allow staff to detect scammers and prevent them from using their website to conduct their nefarious operations.
Take time to appraise
Online dating sites give you the ability to take your time to decide whether the person you are communicating with is compatible. This is one area where it certainly has an advantage over the real world. When you are courting someone in a more traditional setting, you are often driven by circumstances, forced to make instant decisions about whether you want to arrange a second date or not. In an online situation, the power is in your hands.
You can decide the frequency by which you communicate with this person, the length of your texts and whether or not you wish to give away further details such as your phone number as a precursor to actually arranging a face-to-face meeting. The person at the other end should be on the same wavelength as yourself and fully understand your desire to be patient. If they seem to be pressurizing you, the solution is simple. Block them, just as you do when you get irritating phone calls about double-glazing!
Online dating should be a fun and potentially romantic experience. Adopting some common sense behaviors will ensure you get the most out of it.