online dating

Online Dating Can Be Risky. Here’s How You Can Protect Yourself.

A person usually meets his or her significant other through face-to-face interaction. The dawn of digital media and the internet has introduced a new way to date. But most people still meet their partners through chance encounters. They even prefer it that way. This may be due to the bad reputation of online dating.

When one thinks of online dating, they may think of temporary relationships or one-night stands. They may connect with someone, but it never lasts. In fact, in a 2019 survey by the Pew Research Center, only 12% of respondents found long-term relationships through online dating. There’s also the problem of people sending unsolicited, explicit images to people online.

But meeting someone in person has been quite difficult recently due to the pandemic. Everyone is wearing a mask and limits physical interactions when they’re outside, out of caution. As such, if you want to find love in the middle of the pandemic, online dating seems to be the inevitable option.

Ways to Date Online

Online dating can come in different forms. You can use dating apps, such as Tinder and Bumble. If you aren’t already familiar, these apps are basically social networking platforms where you swipe right if you like someone and left if you don’t. You’ll match with another user if both of you swipe right on each other.

You can also try dating sites. You need to provide personal information to your chosen site. Then, its algorithm will help you find individuals you are compatible with.

You can also avail of matchmaking services. A professional will help you find an ideal partner based on the information you provide, such as your preferences and interests. While this may cost more than the other options, the human element in the search process makes it a favorable option.

How to Date Online Safely

Online dating does come with risks. So you need to do what you can to have a safe experience of meeting potential partners.

people in a date

1. Don’t Overshare

Remember that the people you “meet” online are considered strangers. So don’t give out too much information, especially during your first conversation. It’s okay to talk about similar interests. Perhaps you and the person you meet online both like a certain genre of film or literature. Or maybe you share the same hobby.

But don’t share anything personal. This includes your address, place of work (if you’re not working from home), birthday, and the places you frequently visit. This way, you protect yourself from possible stalkers and even doxing.

2. Stay Within the Platform

When you’re just starting to get to know someone online, you should stay within the online platform until you decide that the person you’re talking to can be trusted. If you’re using mobile dating apps, use that instead of giving your personal number or social media profiles.

3. Go on a Video Call

Catfishing is a widespread problem online, especially in the dating world. A person’s dating profile in a mobile app or a dating site will have at least one photo. To avoid getting catfished, go on a video call with the person you’re talking to. The video call s also a good way to become familiar with their face. This familiarity will be useful when you decide to meet in person.

4. Know When to Walk Away

Sometimes, you’ll meet someone not very pleasant online. If you notice some red flags, remember that it’s okay to end the conversation or even block people. When you try online dating, you need to make sure that you know your own comfort level. This is a way to protect yourself from bad experiences online.

For example, someone might keep prying about your private life. If they don’t stop even after you’ve asked them to, the best thing you can do is to tell them you’re no longer comfortable with the conversation and say goodbye.

5. Going on a Date? Choose Public Places

Staying in a public area doesn’t only lower your risk of contracting COVID-19. It will also give you a sense of assurance because there will be many people around your meeting place. You may also consider telling someone you trust, such as a friend or a family member, about going on a date with someone you met online. Tell them where you’re meeting and who you’re meeting.

Online dating can be challenging. But if you’re determined to look for a partner, it’s practically one of the best options you have while in the middle of a pandemic. Just make sure that you take proper measures to protect yourself.

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