Online dating has been around since before I can remember, ‘match.com’ was founded in 1995! So it is not something that we know nothing about. However, since they become apps that you can easily access on your phone their popularity has soared. ‘Match.com’ has 26.6 million people registered- that’s more than the population of Australia.
What I want to make you aware of is do you really know who you’re talking to? (Probably not) It’s all well and good chatting to a hot guy/girl but do you really know that they are who they say they are?
I’m sure if any of you have watched Catfish (weirdest show ever) you will have seen how meeting someone online can be slightly awkward when you come to meet them and they are not in the slightest who they said they were. Some of those on the show chose to stay in contact and form some sort of strange relationship however, most of the people could not believe the lies and hated the person from the moment they met them!
The list of risks involved with online dating is endless- from stalking and harassment to fraud and blackmail. These are just a couple of things to be wary of!
We have a couple of tips in order to stay safe online:
- Choose your username wisely- don’t use one that makes you easily identifiable. Don’t include your surname or any other identifying information. Be careful when using usernames with sexual, provocative or controversial phrases, this can attract the wrong type of attention.
- If you plan to meet someone you have been chatting to online meet them in a public place where there are plenty of people around. It would also be a good idea if a friend could go to the same place and keep an eye on things. For example if you go to a restaurant , let your friend know and they could go with their boyfriend/girlfriend/friend and eat but also keep an eye on you that you are OK.
- Never go to their home alone, this is a recipe for disaster! If they are not who they say they are and you end up in their home, this is not safe.
- Keep your phone on you at all times, if there is an emergency this ensures you can contact someone who can help you.
- Take advantage of social media- check your date out online, have a look at their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. This can help you confirm that you are in fact talking to who you think you are. It can help you find out if someone is lying about their identity.
- If it sounds too good to be true- it probably is. People create all sorts of people online so if some of the things they are saying are very unlikely for example, they own a yacht in the Bahamas- ask questions!
Match.com provide a list of tips to stay safe whilst using their website, which is a good resource to look at if you are thinking of signing up with them. It can be found here.
We hope these staying safe online tips are useful to you! Be careful who you date and make sure you get to know them properly first- not just their name!