Apr 25, 2024  

Online Safety Tips from 

Online dating can be fun and rewarding, but be cautious

Online dating is very popular, and why not? Once you leave high school or college itís not easy to find a group of people who share your age group, interests, spiritual beliefsÖand your desire to connect for companionship, fun and love.

While online dating can be very rewarding, itís important to be cautious. Here are a few steps you can take to increase your online dating safety:

Whether you meet someone in a chat room or through an online dating service, the first rule of online dating is:

Take it slowly.

You might think you know the person because you have been chatting online or corresponding via email, but remember to use common sense when you decide to connect in person with an online dating pal.

  • Use Extra-Safe Online Dating Sites. Most online dating Web sites begin by asking you to fill out a profile. Before you do, make sure you read the privacy policy of the Web site.

    Many people who visit Internet dating sites are not completely honest. Although I advise you to be honest, please realize that others might stretch the truth a little (or a lot).

    In a recent Nielsen//NetRatings' analysis of the online dating community, out of those acknowledging that they accessed an online dating service the previous day, 11 percent were married individuals. And those were the ones being honest!

    Keep in mind, though, that no online dating Web site is perfect. You future mate might be somewhere on the Internet, but go slowly, use common sense, and always be at least a little suspicious.


  • Guard Your Anonymity. Be sure not to include your last name, address, workplace, phone number, or any other identifying information when corresponding online.

    Most online dating services use a double-blind system that protects your identity. If this system is not available at the online dating service you choose, create a nickname to use just for online dating sites. It is never a good idea to use your real name.


  • Ask for a Photo. Appearance can help you determine whether the person is someone with whom you want to correspond. Most online dating sites enable you to post a picture if you like.

    If the person doesn't send a photo and makes excuses, stop corresponding with them.

    Don't assume that the person who chats to you on the computer screen will be the same person in real life. The single executive you chat with who says he has a body fat rating of 18 percent and works out every day could very well be unemployed, overweight, married, and have several children.

    Oh, and if you do get a photo, remember that it might not be current or accurate.

More ideas to make your online dating experience safe

Online dating can be a great way to meet people who share your interests, but as with any new venture, there can be risks.

To help ensure that your online dating experiences are happy ones, here are a few more tips to help you increase your online dating safety.

  • Take Time to Get to Know the Person. This online dating tip should be listed twice, in case you miss it the first time.

    If you make a connection with someone online, it's tempting to want to meet right away, but give it enough time to be sure that person is genuine.

    If the person you are corresponding with wishes to perpetuate a fantasy, it becomes harder to maintain that fantasy over time.

    If you suspect that something is not quite right, keep asking questions and insisting on answers (and proof of those answers).


  • Speak on the phone. Although older rules of etiquette advise women not to push the relationship by calling a man, a phone call can reveal much about a person's social skills.

    If you decide to speak with someone on the phone, ask the person for his or her number. Use telephone-blocking techniques (check with your local phone company) so he or she can't get your number through caller ID. If the person is hesitant about provide a phone number, that should give you something to think about.

    If you give out your number, use your cell phone until you know the person well enough (could be after several meetings) to provide your home number.


  • Meet in a public place. What if you think you have met "the one?" You chatted online and on the phone for great lengths of time and you both feel it might be going somewhere; what now?

    If you met traditionally, at work or at a social gathering, for example, you already know how to proceed. But in this cyber forum you have only been meeting with your minds and the next step must be meeting in person!

    If you decide to meet, choose a safe place, such as a restaurant during a busy time. Be sure to tell a friend where you're going and what time you plan to return. Give your friend the person's name and phone number.

    Never arrange for someone to pick you up at your home or office. Take your own transportation. When the date is over, do not allow the person to follow you.


  • Donít let this online dating safety advice scare you off. There are many honest, warm, and wonderful people out there, who are looking for friends and romantic partners. If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to find many nice people to choose from. Have fun!
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