Tips for Safe and Healthy Online Dating
Dating has changed in the digital age as many relationships now begin on apps, websites and social media. While it can seem like an intimidating way to meet people, you can make the experience of meeting someone online safe and enjoyable by following these seven tips.
1) Make sure the person is who they say they are
Before meeting with someone, you should know what they look like. If someone is stingy with revealing how they look or basic information about themselves such as their first name, it could be a sign of someone luring or catfishingFootnote1 you with false information.
2) Be cautious when sending images
It is always safer to not send revealing images to people you don’t know or fully trust. Your photos can end up anywhere once someone gets hold of them, so practice caution and use careful judgement.
3) Don’t reveal too much personal information
When you first start interacting with someone, you shouldn’t reveal personal data such as your home address and phone number. Communicate and build trust with the person first before you offer any contact or personal information, but never give more than is necessary.
4) Have a mutual understanding of boundaries
No matter what kind of date you have planned, it is always safer to know exactly what you’ll be doing. By discussing a plan beforehand you can both go into the situation knowing what you are and aren’t comfortable with.
5) Meet in a public place first
No matter what kind of date you’re going on, it is always safer to meet in an open and public place first. Avoid meetings that take place in remote areas, vehicles or anywhere that makes you feel uncomfortable.
6) Always let someone know where you are
Before meeting up with someone, let a friend or family member know where you’ll be. Some apps let you share your location with others so that someone can keep an eye on you during your date.
7) Don’t let online dating affect your self-image
The superficial nature of online dating has the potential to distort our self-image. Online dating should be enjoyable, not harmful to our mental health. Make sure to unplug and take occasional breaks from apps and websites keep perspective and to give your mind and heart a rest.