Online Dating Safety Guide

Posted by James, 08 May

How To Be Safe With Online Dating: All You Need To Know

Online dating is huge, almost all of us have tried it, or at least know someone that has. In the UK, one in five relationships start online while in the US, 40% of people have tried online dating, that’s over 49 million daters.

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The Rise Of Online Dating

In today’s busy world, where it seems impossible to find the time or the places to meet single people in person, online dating has the answer. It is fun, easy to use, around 59% of the population believe it is a good way to meet someone, and it really is.

Online dating allows you to be safer and tread carefully before meeting someone; it can also help build rapport through messaging which can be really beneficial to those who are shy or nervous. In many ways, online dating opens up a whole new world of dates, even if you restrict it to a local area. There are so many people using online platforms to find partners, meet new people, and search for your favorite traits and interests, a task that seemed impossible before.

Increasing Popularity For Millennials

While online dating isn’t new, in fact, the first online dating website started years before Google, it is growing rapidly. The most popular sector using online dating is those aged 18-24, and in that sector, the number of people who have used online dating has tripled in just three years, this isn’t a trend, it is a market that will continue to grow and why not? It is the perfect place to meet like-minded individuals.

In 2015, 17% of marriages were a result of online dating, and now 20% of committed relationships start online. Whether you want to meet someone to share your future with or just want some fun, online dating and dating apps allow you to meet your perfect match. Currently, 22% of 18-24-year-olds use dating apps, and we know this number will continue to rise as more and more people realize how brilliant online dating can be.

Beware Of Dangers

As online dating continues to grow in popularity, the danger increases too. Online dating has led the way to scammers, sex offenders and people looking to exploit others in any way possible. With 10% of sex offenders using online dating to meeting people and more and more people falling victim to catfishing and identity theft, it doesn’t mean that we should avoid online dating, but be cautious and use common sense.

Here are our five top tips to keep you safe while dating online, and to give you all you need to know, we’ve hunted out all of the online dating lingo you need to know too, to keep you safe, up to date and to become an online dating guru.

Five Steps To Online Dating Safety: Everything You Need To Know

1. Don’t Tell Them Everything

Dating Term To Know:

Haunting – In a similar vein as ‘ghosting’ which is when the person you're dating suddenly stops all communication with you, ‘haunting’ is when someone that ‘ghosted’ you makes an unexpected reappearance, but won’t make direct contact. To be ‘haunted’ is when they like or follow something you put on social media but doesn’t talk to you directly.

How To Stay Safe:

While getting to know someone online can be the start of a great relationship, remember that you don’t really know this person until you meet them in person and you need to build up trust before letting them into your life.

Do not exchange email addresses, phone numbers, address or even social media pages until you’ve met in person. It is essential for your safety and scammers can find out a lot from your personal details. For example, your cat’s name that you’ve posted on Facebook may well be your password for the site. Act with caution with personal data until you have a good level of trust, in any case, it can help prevent haunting later on.

2. Do Your Homework

Dating term To Know:

‘Benching’ or ‘Breadcrumbing’ is where your date stops wanting to meet you in person but is happy to keep talking through messages and social media. They keep you on the bench while playing the field and seeing what’s out there. Avoid at all costs!

How To Stay Safe:

Before meeting your new date, it is the perfect time to unleash the secret inner stalker in you. Before meeting in person, Google their name and find out as much as you can. While we don’t recommend connecting on social media, it is wise to see if you have any mutual friends and what you can find out about the person before dating, it may save your heartache, benching or being scammed.

3. Think About Photos

guy posing half naked

Dating Term To Know:

Thirst Trap – a thirst trap is a social media photo that is designed to get attention. Such as someone titling the image ‘what a gorgeous day’ but actually focuses on a provocative picture of themselves or their naked or half-naked body rather than the weather. It’s a thirst trap that’s begging for attention.

How To Stay Safe:

As well as doing your homework, check out their photos, one to avoid those egotistical thirst trappers and two to prepare for potential scammers. Many scammers will use photographs stolen from social media. Fortunately, there are websites where you can upload their photo and see where else it has been used. If they have clearly stolen the image from someone else’s social media and the context doesn’t add up, report them immediately. By reporting them, you are looking after the dating community and stopping the scammers.

As well as checking out their photographs, think about your own too. Scammers can use the same software to check your photos out and find out personal information about you from your social media or wherever your photograph is online. To stay safe, use dedicated dating photos that can’t be found anywhere else.

4. Choose A Safe Date Place

Dating Term To Know:

Talking has taken on a new meaning in the dating world when someone is ‘talking’ to someone, they are dating casually. If they are FBO, that stands for ‘Facebook official’ and is the pinnacle of a serious relationship in the online dating world.

How To Stay Safe:

It is a good idea to meet an online date as soon as possible as you never truly know someone until you meet them in person. When you organize a date, choose a safe place, ideally somewhere busy and well lit. Make sure you know the area well, and you know exactly how to get home safely by yourself. Meeting for a coffee in a busy café in the daytime is the perfect first date. Make sure you tell a friend where you’re going, who you are meeting, timings and how they can contact you.

The quicker you start dating, the quicker you get to start ‘talking’ to someone, and before you know, you’ll be FBO.

5. Don’t Be Discouraged

Dating Term To Know:

DTR – when you make a connection with your date, the time will come to DTR, which means define the relationship. Are you just ‘talking’ or will you become FBO?

How To Stay Safe:

You should never feel pressure to meet someone or remain on a date if you don’t feel comfortable. Online dating is meant to be fun, so don’t feel you have to pursue a date if you are not happy. People can be very persistent, but if they make you uncomfortable, leave the date immediately, block them and stop all communication.

And Remember…

Enjoy your time and stay safe, but don’t be too suspicious. Many people are just like you and looking for love or a good time. Be cautious, and follow advice, but don’t be too suspicious, common sense is all you need for a great online dating experience.

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