Five Tips for Staying Safe With Online Dating

Online dating has become a popular method of meeting new people because of its wealth of benefits. Men and women can search for individuals with similar interests using a search tool from the comforts of their homes. Online dating saves people money on fuel, and it broadens the horizons for people who are willing to travel outside of their comfort zones. However, online daters must be assertive and take safety precautions. The following are some safety tips for first-time online daters:
1. Go Through Stages to Build Trust
The Internet allows some people to be evasive, vague and dishonest. Not everyone in the online dating community is negative, but new daters have to proceed with caution. A person should always go through stages when he or she communicates with a new prospect. The two parties should spend a certain amount of time exchanging emails before they graduate to text messaging or phone conversations. They should stay at the phone calling stage for a while before they plan a date. This process gives the prospective daters time to get to know each other before they meet.
2. Do Not Give Out Personal Information
Online daters should not give out any personal information right away. Information such as employment details, home addresses, social security numbers and the like should be strictly prohibited. As previously mentioned, some people may have malicious intentions.
3. Report Harassment and Abuse
Online daters should report instances of harassment and abuse the moment they occur. Examples of harassment and abuse are unwanted obscene language, verbal abuse and repetitive contact from an undesired party. Most of the modern dating sites have blocking options for their instant messaging and email programs. However, members should still make administrators aware of foul play so they can keep the sites honest.
4. Notify Someone of the Date
A good safety practice for a first-time date is to notify a close family member or friend of the date. The person should give the family member or friend details about the time and location of the date. That way, someone knows where the person will be in case the date goes awry. The family member or friend can contact the authorities if their loved one disappears or fails to answer the phone after a certain time.
5. Meet at a Public Place
All first dates should occur at a public location. Online daters should never meet at each other’s homes or in a secluded location. The first date is an opportunity to build trust and discover details about the other party’s personality, likes, dislikes, flaws and life stories. Meeting at a public place keeps the environment neutral and discourages criminal activities such as date rape, kidnapping and the like.
Online dating is not always dangerous. In fact, it can be quite fruitful. Many daters go on to form trusting and loving relationships. They should always be cautious in the beginning, however.

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